How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Course near Decatur AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Decatur AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing 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. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best 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.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Decatur AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Decatur AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education along 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, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, most Decatur AL employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the main certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical option for many Decatur AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college 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 means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Decatur AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. 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 schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded 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 aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Decatur AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy 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 all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates 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 see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Decatur AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at 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 college has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Decatur AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Decatur Alabama
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a variety of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Decatur AL.