How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Gadsden AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist training near Gadsden AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, most prospective students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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 actually work in Gadsden AL laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Gadsden AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education along 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 specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually 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 probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, a number of Gadsden AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some 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 a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Gadsden AL students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, few people probably 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 naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Gadsden AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available 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 College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools 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 placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Gadsden AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? 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 classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Gadsden AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Gadsden AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Gadsden Alabama
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each school before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Gadsden AL.