How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Gadsden AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Gadsden AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. 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 pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point 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. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Gadsden AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested correctly using the highest 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 do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Gadsden AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along 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 phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Gadsden AL employers require certification before employing technicians. A few 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 a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the curriculum 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 completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Gadsden AL students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available 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 College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin 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 rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Gadsden AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested 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 complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Gadsden AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. 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, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify 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 find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Gadsden Alabama
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary slightly across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Gadsden AL.