How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Classes near Decatur AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Decatur AL is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk 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 cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Decatur AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Decatur AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Decatur AL employers require certification prior to employing 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Decatur AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you want 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 cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations 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 prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as 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. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, 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 a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin 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 rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Decatur AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Decatur AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Decatur AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Decatur Alabama
Making sure that you select the right 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 multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each college before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Decatur AL.