How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist School near Mobile AL
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Mobile AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much 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 must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Mobile AL laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Mobile AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Mobile AL employers look for certification before hiring 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Mobile AL students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Mobile AL medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you intend 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 in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Mobile AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to 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 closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added 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 Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Mobile AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Mobile AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Mobile Alabama
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Mobile AL.