How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Gadsden AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy training near Gadsden AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, most students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area 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 closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately 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 testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Gadsden AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Gadsden AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as 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 incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Gadsden AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the primary 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 phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Gadsden AL students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Gadsden AL medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate 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 college is relevant if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, 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. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Gadsden AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with a few Gadsden AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, check with 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 looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Gadsden AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Gadsden AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near Gadsden Alabama
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical 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 school. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each school before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Gadsden AL.