How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Decatur AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy school near Decatur AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind 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 decision process too. Toward that end, 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 before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time 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 screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Decatur AL laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, including Decatur AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method 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 on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Decatur AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for many Decatur AL students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in 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 means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Decatur AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some 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 regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Decatur AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Decatur AL hospitals or clinics 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 find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Decatur AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to verify that the ultimate college you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night 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, verify 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 ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Decatur Alabama
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each program before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Decatur AL.