How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Course near Mobile AL
Selecting the right phlebotomy school near Mobile AL is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, many potential students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly 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 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 Mobile AL labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Mobile AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education along with 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 phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Mobile AL employers look for certification prior to employing 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for some Mobile AL students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy 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 receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type 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 significant if you will be commuting from Mobile AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Mobile AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Mobile AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Mobile AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate 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 together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Mobile AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Mobile 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 study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Mobile Alabama
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Mobile AL.