How to Select the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Decatur AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician training near Decatur AL is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, many potential students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Decatur AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Decatur AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Decatur AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal 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 phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Decatur AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Decatur AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable 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 school in addition to an assurance of a premium 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 organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Decatur AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement 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 several Decatur AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Decatur AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Decatur AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Learn How to Become a Phlebotomist
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Decatur Alabama
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Decatur AL.