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Become a Phlebotomist in Decatur Alabama

How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Course near Decatur AL

Decatur AL phlebotomist drawing bloodEnrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Decatur AL is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, many potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.

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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary

Decatur AL phlebotomy laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Decatur AL labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Decatur AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants 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 type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.

Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification

blood testing performed in Decatur AL labThere are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Decatur AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the primary certifying organizations 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy 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 Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees

Decatur Alabama woman attending phlebotomy training onlineTo start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for many Decatur AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools

Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected 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 school is relevant if you will be commuting from Decatur AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in 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 phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Decatur AL job market.

What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies 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 ask if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Plenty of Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Decatur AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL healthcare community.

Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while going to 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. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.

Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Decatur Alabama

Decatur AL phlebotomist lab blood analysisMaking certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Decatur AL.