How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Gadsden AL
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Gadsden AL is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby 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 far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to 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 reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Gadsden AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Gadsden AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Gadsden AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the key 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Gadsden AL students. As an added benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Gadsden AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Gadsden AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? 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 considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Gadsden AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Gadsden AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, 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 ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near Gadsden Alabama
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Gadsden AL.