How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Gadsden AL
Selecting the right phlebotomist training near Gadsden AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Gadsden AL labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Gadsden AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general 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, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Gadsden AL employers look for certification prior to hiring 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it may be a more practical option for many Gadsden AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Gadsden AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable 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 quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with several Gadsden AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Gadsden AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Gadsden AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And 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.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Gadsden Alabama
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Gadsden AL.