How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Decatur AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Decatur AL is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss 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 closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Decatur AL labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Decatur AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Decatur AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the primary certifying agencies 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
First, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted 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-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Decatur AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Decatur AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole 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 ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely 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 be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Decatur AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with several Decatur AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? 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 phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Decatur AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Decatur AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Decatur Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Decatur AL.