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Become a Phlebotomist in Decatur Alabama

How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Decatur AL

Decatur AL phlebotomist drawing bloodChoosing the right phlebotomist training near Decatur AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Work Summary

Decatur AL phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to 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 an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Decatur AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance 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 answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Decatur AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing

blood testing done in Decatur AL laboratoryThere are primarily 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Decatur AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees

Decatur AL woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient option for many Decatur AL students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.

Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges

Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Decatur AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking 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 need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in 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 School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, 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 Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Decatur AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact 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 phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.

Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Decatur AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL health care community.

Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Decatur AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.

Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Decatur Alabama

Decatur AL phlebotomy lab blood testingMaking sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Decatur AL.