How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist School near Hoover AL
Picking the ideal phlebotomy school near Hoover AL is an important initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, many prospective students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must 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 procedure. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Hoover AL laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Hoover AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Hoover AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the key 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. 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 provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part 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 in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some Hoover AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school 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 quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Hoover AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits 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 previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Hoover AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Hoover AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? 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 phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Hoover AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Hoover AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to verify that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hoover AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study 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 because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Hoover Alabama
Making sure that you select the ideal 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 a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each school before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Hoover AL.