How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Florence AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Florence AL is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, many potential students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select 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 training.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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 in fact work in Florence AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Florence AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Florence AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some 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 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 choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted 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 can be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Florence AL students. As an added benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Florence AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies 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 respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Florence AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact some Florence AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see 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 schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Florence AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Florence AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to confirm that the final school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Florence AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Florence Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can differ a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each program before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Florence AL.