How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Course near Gadsden AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Gadsden AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, 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 right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover 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. While that is their principal duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time 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 can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Gadsden AL laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Gadsden AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed 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 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, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of 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 preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Gadsden AL students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Gadsden AL medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need 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 preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, 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 phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any colleges you are considering. 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 screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Gadsden AL hospitals or clinics 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 find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional 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 Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Gadsden AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Gadsden Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Gadsden AL.