How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Decatur AL
Selecting the right phlebotomy school near Decatur AL is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Decatur AL labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Decatur AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides 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 include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Decatur AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the key certifying agencies 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 phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for some Decatur AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in 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 superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Decatur AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing 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 working and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Decatur AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact several Decatur AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough 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 looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Decatur AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Decatur AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study 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 should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Decatur Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a number of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Decatur AL.