How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Florence AL
Picking the ideal phlebotomy training near Florence AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss 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 cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out to be able 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 can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Florence AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Florence AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in most states, most 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 a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out 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-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for many Florence AL students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish 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 tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Florence AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Florence AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? 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 classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 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 provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Florence AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Florence AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Florence AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Learn How to Become a Phlebotomist
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Florence Alabama
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Florence AL.