How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Training Course near Decatur AL
Picking the ideal phlebotomist training near Decatur AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Decatur AL laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Decatur AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Decatur AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including 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 premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for some Decatur AL students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Decatur AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Decatur AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several Decatur AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Decatur AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Decatur AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Decatur Alabama
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Decatur AL.