How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Gadsden AL
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Gadsden AL is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In reality, most prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review 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 comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Gadsden AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Gadsden AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest 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 phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Gadsden AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the principal certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for many Gadsden AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might 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 campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example 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 premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take 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 unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Gadsden AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any colleges 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 rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Gadsden AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Gadsden AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Gadsden AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Gadsden Alabama
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may 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 important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Gadsden AL.