How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist School near Gadsden AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Gadsden AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, most prospective students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools 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 factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision 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 assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly 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 can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Gadsden AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Gadsden AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under 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 phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, most 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 a few 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 supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Gadsden AL students. As an added benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. 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. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. 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 programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of 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 examination 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 colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Gadsden AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Gadsden AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Gadsden AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting 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 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 as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the final school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Gadsden AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, 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 in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Gadsden Alabama
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Gadsden AL.