How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Florence AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Florence AL is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process too. 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 choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Florence AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Florence AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually 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 means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Florence AL employers require certification before 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, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out 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-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Florence AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Florence AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Florence AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact some Florence AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Florence AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Florence AL medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Florence AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Florence Alabama
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a number of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Florence AL.