How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy School near Decatur AL
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Decatur AL is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. 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 in fact work in Decatur AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Decatur AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind 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 practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Decatur AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the key certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
First, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical option for many Decatur AL students. As an added benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Decatur AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Decatur AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Decatur AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested 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 ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Decatur AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Decatur AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Decatur Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully research and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Decatur AL.