How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist School near Hoover AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near Hoover AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area 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 checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out 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 in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Hoover AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, 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 hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, 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 senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route 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 phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Hoover AL employers require certification before hiring 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the curriculum 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 completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Hoover AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program 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 obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Hoover AL medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you intend 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 Hoover AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each 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. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely 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 readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional 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 premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Hoover AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few Hoover AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out 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 schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy 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 below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Hoover AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Hoover AL health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hoover AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Hoover Alabama
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a number of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Hoover AL.