How to Find the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Gadsden AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist school near Gadsden AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, 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 ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab 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 tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and varied, including Gadsden AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing 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 collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Gadsden AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some 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 a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist 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.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for many Gadsden AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start 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 relevant if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Gadsden AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Gadsden AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish 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 provide adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Gadsden AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. 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, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. 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 policy is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Gadsden Alabama
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each program before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Gadsden AL.