How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Decatur AL
Selecting the right phlebotomy training near Decatur AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Decatur AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Decatur AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education along 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, most Decatur AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the principal 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Decatur AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Decatur AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount 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 enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills 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 phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Decatur AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous 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 the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start 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 reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Decatur AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Decatur AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Decatur AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Decatur Alabama
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Decatur AL.