How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Gadsden AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy training near Gadsden AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, a large number of students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby 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 comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Gadsden AL laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Gadsden AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, 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 specific kind of patient. For example, those working 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 newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, many Gadsden AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the primary certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
First, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for some Gadsden AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). 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 study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a health care 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 not comfortable in hospitals or other Gadsden AL medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected 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 interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type 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 relevant if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several 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 administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Gadsden AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Gadsden AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working 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 at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable 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 also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Gadsden AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Gadsden Alabama
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Gadsden AL.