How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Hoover AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Hoover AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, most students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review 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 locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately 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 an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Hoover AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Hoover AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Hoover AL employers look for certification before employing 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 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 important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some Hoover AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Hoover AL medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked 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 college is relevant if you will be commuting from Hoover AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school 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 in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Hoover AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy 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 assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Hoover AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, check with 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 reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Hoover AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Hoover AL health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Hoover AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Hoover Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Hoover AL.