How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Course near Gadsden AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician training near Gadsden AL is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point 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 may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Gadsden AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including 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 young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many Gadsden AL employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the main certifying organizations 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for many Gadsden AL students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Gadsden AL medical facilities, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist 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 have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Gadsden AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Gadsden AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed 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 find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Gadsden AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most 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 healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Gadsden AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure 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 Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Gadsden Alabama
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each college before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Gadsden AL.