How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Mobile AL
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Mobile AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, many prospective students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit 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 significant considerations and must be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Mobile AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Mobile AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Mobile AL employers require 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Mobile AL students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice 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 already discussed, the short answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Mobile AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Mobile AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Mobile AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with several Mobile AL clinics or hospitals that you might 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 Ample Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out 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 practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Mobile AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Mobile AL health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Mobile AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Mobile Alabama
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Mobile AL.