How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Gadsden AL
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician training near Gadsden AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually 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. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Gadsden AL labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Gadsden 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 babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting 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, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Gadsden AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out 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 part of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Gadsden AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic 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 intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting 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 should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree 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 numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. 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 screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Gadsden AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Gadsden AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Gadsden AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Gadsden Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Gadsden AL.