How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Gadsden AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Gadsden AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, most students begin the process 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 online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Gadsden AL laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, including Gadsden AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Gadsden AL employers look for 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for some Gadsden AL students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type 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 important if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Gadsden AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several 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 find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn 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 provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Gadsden AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Gadsden AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, 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 ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Gadsden Alabama
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary slightly across the country as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Gadsden AL.