How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Mobile AL
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician school near Mobile AL is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Mobile AL laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Mobile AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers 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 phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Mobile AL employers require certification before hiring 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 phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the course of study will be practical 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. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Mobile AL students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Mobile AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select 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 benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Mobile AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools 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 online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with some Mobile AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of 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 clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Mobile AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at offer 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 college has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Mobile AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to verify 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 can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Mobile AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, 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 sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Mobile Alabama
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Mobile AL.