How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Mobile AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy training near Mobile AL is an important initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most prospective students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. 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 choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist 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. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Mobile AL laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Mobile AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many Mobile AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the main certifying organizations 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 phlebotomist, including 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 supplies a superior 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 receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted 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-practical part of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical option for some Mobile AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, 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 Mobile AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few 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 previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Mobile AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are considering. 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 solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Mobile AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient 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 length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Mobile AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Mobile AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working 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 part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Mobile Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Mobile AL.