How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Mobile AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Mobile AL is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging 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 ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Mobile AL laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Mobile AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Mobile AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying agencies 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 phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Mobile AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Mobile AL medical facilities, well this profession probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right profession for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Mobile AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Mobile AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Mobile AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide 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 expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Mobile AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Mobile AL medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Mobile AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Mobile Alabama
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Mobile AL.