How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Training Classes near Hoover AL
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Hoover AL is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, most students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary function, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able 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 screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Hoover AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Hoover AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a general 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Hoover AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key certifying agencies 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 phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Hoover AL students. As an added benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, 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 opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Hoover AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact some Hoover AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At 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 practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Hoover AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Hoover AL health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hoover AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Hoover Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Hoover AL.