How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Florence AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Florence AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In fact, many potential students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing 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 Florence AL laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Florence AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can 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 practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples 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 working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route 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 normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Florence AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the course of study 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 in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient option for many Florence AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive 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 attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Florence AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Florence AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with 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 students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Florence AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Florence AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Florence AL health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Florence AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even 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 protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Florence Alabama
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Florence AL.