How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Training Course near Decatur AL
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Decatur AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, many students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors 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 need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Decatur AL laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Decatur AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working 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 mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Decatur AL employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the primary 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative 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.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Decatur AL students. As an added benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Decatur AL medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right job for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. 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 opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Decatur AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact some Decatur AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Decatur AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job 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 rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Decatur AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Decatur Alabama
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly 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 choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Decatur AL.