How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near East Florence AL
Picking the right phlebotomist training near East Florence AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, most potential students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. 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 select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address 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 technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports 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 East Florence AL laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as East Florence AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing 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, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, many East Florence AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal certifying organizations 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 phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for some East Florence AL students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other East Florence AL medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you wish 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 East Florence AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the East Florence AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential 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 assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to several East Florence AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local East Florence AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the East Florence AL health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the final program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near East Florence AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near East Florence Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in East Florence AL.