How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Florence AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near Florence AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to assess and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby 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 much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Florence AL laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Florence AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree 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 provides the fastest 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 to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Florence AL employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for many Florence AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Florence AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy 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 a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium 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 previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Florence AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. 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 reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with several Florence AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Florence AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school 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 an extensive network of professional contacts within the Florence AL medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to make sure that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Florence AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Florence Alabama
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Florence AL.