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Become a Phlebotomist in Gadsden Alabama

How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Classes near Gadsden AL

Gadsden AL phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientEnrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Gadsden AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, most prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description

Gadsden AL phlebotomy lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Gadsden AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?

The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Gadsden AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only 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, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification

blood analysis done in Gadsden AL laboratoryThere are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in most states, most Gadsden AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the main 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 phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomy Online Training

Gadsden AL student attending phlebotomy classes onlineFirst, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the program of studies 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 portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for many Gadsden AL students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.

Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?

First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Gadsden AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.

Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges

Questions to ask Gadsden AL phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you wish 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 as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing before making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, 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 prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination 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 desirable to prospective employers in the Gadsden AL job market.

What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Gadsden AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Plenty of 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 amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Gadsden AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL health care community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Gadsden AL, make certain they are available 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 completed 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 Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Gadsden Alabama

Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Gadsden AL.