How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Hoover AL
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Hoover AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many potential students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Hoover AL labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Hoover AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and offers a general education together with 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, most Hoover AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant 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. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Hoover AL students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Hoover AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing 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 Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements 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 prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select 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 program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Hoover AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin 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 organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact some Hoover AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive 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 are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Hoover AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night 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, confirm 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 find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Hoover Alabama
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Hoover AL.