How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Birmingham AL
Picking the ideal phlebotomy training near Birmingham AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Birmingham AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Birmingham AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Birmingham AL employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the key certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Birmingham AL students. As an added benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Birmingham AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Birmingham AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Birmingham AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Birmingham AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Birmingham AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Birmingham AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Birmingham Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Birmingham AL.