How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist School near Decatur AL
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Decatur AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, most potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection 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 reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing 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 information. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers 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 in fact work in Decatur AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Decatur AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available 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 provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Decatur AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the program of studies 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. However since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for some Decatur AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type 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 in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Decatur AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? 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 any colleges you are reviewing. 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 online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Decatur AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out 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 provide no less than 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 comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Decatur AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Decatur Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Decatur AL.