How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Decatur AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Decatur AL is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, most potential students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online schools 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 factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose 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 schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Decatur AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Decatur AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing 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 samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Decatur AL employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the main 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 phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Decatur AL students. As an added benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Decatur AL medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect job for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Decatur AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium 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 earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Decatur AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any 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 assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Decatur AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, contact 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 looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Decatur AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Decatur AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Decatur Alabama
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a wide range of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully 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 select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Decatur AL.