How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy School near Florence AL
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Florence AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, most students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review 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 closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish 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 prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Florence AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Florence AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Florence AL employers require certification prior to 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Florence AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, 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 online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets 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 phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Florence AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal 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 check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with several Florence AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Florence AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Florence AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Florence AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Florence Alabama
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a variety of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Florence AL.