How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near East Florence AL
Selecting the right phlebotomist school near East Florence AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In fact, most students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main task, there is actually 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. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in East Florence AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including East Florence AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many East Florence AL employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the main certifying agencies 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other 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 readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the curriculum 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 in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for many East Florence AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on 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 campus is significant 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. All of these decisions are a critical part 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 several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in 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 examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the East Florence AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several East Florence AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local East Florence AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the East Florence AL health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near East Florence AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain 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 as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near East Florence Alabama
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in East Florence AL.