How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Mobile AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Mobile AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In reality, many prospective students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately 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 screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Mobile AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Mobile AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education together 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, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Mobile AL employers require 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for many Mobile AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in 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 study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Mobile AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets 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 phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Mobile AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Mobile AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount 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 (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? 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 obtain hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Mobile AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Mobile AL medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Mobile AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Mobile Alabama
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a number of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Mobile AL.