How to Select the Right Phlebotomist School near East Florence AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near East Florence AL is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, most prospective students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection 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 choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point 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 may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in East Florence AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including East Florence AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, 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 drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of East Florence AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the key certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
First, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for some East Florence AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you intend 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 East Florence AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. 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 practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the East Florence AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few East Florence AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local East Florence AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the East Florence AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near East Florence AL, check that they are available 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 practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near East Florence Alabama
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in East Florence AL.