How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Hoover AL
Selecting the right phlebotomist school near Hoover AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most potential students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should 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 reviewing to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Hoover AL laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Hoover AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Hoover AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed 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 convenient option for many Hoover AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain 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 best option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Hoover AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Hoover AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing 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 all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Hoover AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges 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 screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Hoover AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Hoover AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Hoover AL health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Hoover AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Hoover Alabama
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Hoover AL.