How to Find the Right Phlebotomist School near Florence AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Florence AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In reality, many potential students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed 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 correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Florence AL labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Florence AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in most states, many Florence AL employers look for certification prior to employing 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted 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. However since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Florence AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you want 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 tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Florence AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of 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 imperative to check out the reputations of any 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 assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Florence AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish 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 expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Florence AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support 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 higher 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 a large network of professional contacts within the Florence AL medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Florence AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Florence Alabama
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a number of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Florence AL.