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Become a Phlebotomist in Gadsden Alabama

How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Course near Gadsden AL

Gadsden AL phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientSelecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Gadsden AL is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider 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 you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description

Gadsden AL phlebotomy laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Gadsden AL laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?

The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Gadsden AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification

blood testing done in Gadsden AL laboratoryThere are primarily 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in most states, most Gadsden AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the main 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomist Schools

Gadsden Alabama student attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient option for many Gadsden AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.

Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?

First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Gadsden AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.

Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

What to ask Gadsden AL phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. 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 College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, 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 start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Gadsden AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 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 expansive enough to provide sufficient training.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Gadsden AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL medical community.

Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Gadsden AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, 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 practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Gadsden Alabama

Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Gadsden AL.