How to Find the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Decatur AL
Choosing the right phlebotomist training near Decatur AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, most students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review 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 locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Decatur AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Decatur AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and offers a general 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 specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in most 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, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
First, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for some Decatur AL students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind 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 decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick 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 benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, 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 securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Decatur AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Decatur AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Decatur AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Decatur AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Decatur Alabama
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each college before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Decatur AL.