How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Gadsden AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Gadsden AL is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online 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 far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should 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 cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can 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 certain that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Gadsden AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working 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 collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education together with 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 exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Gadsden AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component 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. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Gadsden AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Gadsden AL medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. 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 can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on 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 important if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded 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 school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, 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 Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Gadsden AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Gadsden AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help 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 higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to make sure that the final school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Gadsden AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Gadsden Alabama
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a wide range of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Gadsden AL.