How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Hoover AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Hoover AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot 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 selection process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Hoover AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Hoover AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Hoover AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for some Hoover AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just verify 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 online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start 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 tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Hoover AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact some Hoover AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As 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 practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Hoover AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Hoover AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night 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 practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Hoover Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Hoover AL.