How to Select the Right Phlebotomy School near Hoover AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Hoover AL is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes 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 a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors 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 need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly completed 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 may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Hoover AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Hoover AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Hoover AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for some Hoover AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school 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 superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
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 might 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 school is relevant if you will be commuting from Hoover AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable 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 phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Hoover AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full 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 reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal 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 Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Hoover AL medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the final program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to 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 part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Hoover Alabama
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Hoover AL.