How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy School near Gadsden AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Gadsden AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, many prospective students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. 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 pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Gadsden AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Gadsden AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked 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 training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Gadsden AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for many Gadsden AL students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type 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 significant if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium 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 previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Gadsden AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little 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 any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few Gadsden AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted 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 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 looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Gadsden AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate college you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Gadsden AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure 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 as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Gadsden Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a variety of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may vary slightly across the country as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Gadsden AL.