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Become a Phlebotomist in Gadsden Alabama

How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Gadsden AL

Gadsden AL phlebotomist drawing bloodSelecting the right phlebotomy school near Gadsden AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, many potential students start the process 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 a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.

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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description

Gadsden AL phlebotomist laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Gadsden AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The simplest answer 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 charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing 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 newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification

blood testing performed in Gadsden AL laboratoryThere are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Gadsden AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the primary certifying agencies include:

  • National Phlebotomy Association
  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
  • American Medical Technologists (AMT)

There are some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomy Online Colleges

Gadsden AL woman attending phlebotomy school onlineFirst, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for some Gadsden AL students. As an added benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.

Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?

First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Gadsden AL medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it 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 could be the perfect profession for you.

Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges

Questions to ask Gadsden AL phlebotomy schoolsSince you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable 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 premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Gadsden AL job market.

What is the Program'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 along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Gadsden AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing 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 no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.

Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Gadsden AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL health care community.

Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Gadsden AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Gadsden Alabama

Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can differ a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Gadsden AL.