How to Select the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near East Florence AL
Selecting the right phlebotomist school near East Florence AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind 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 need to be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in East Florence AL laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as East Florence AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working 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 collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, most East Florence AL employers look for 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some East Florence AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?Right out of the gate, few people probably 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 chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other East Florence AL medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and 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 may be the perfect profession for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked 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 college is significant if you will be commuting from East Florence AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits 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 qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the East Florence AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact a few East Florence AL clinics or hospitals 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 ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? 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 phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local East Florence AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the East Florence AL health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working 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 as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near East Florence Alabama
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may vary slightly across the country as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in East Florence AL.