How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Decatur AL
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician training near Decatur AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, many potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may look into 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's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Decatur AL laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Decatur AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Decatur AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. 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 readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the course of study 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-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Decatur AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked 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 as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected 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 aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Decatur AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little 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 check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with some Decatur AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Decatur AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Decatur AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Decatur Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each program before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Decatur AL.