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Become a Phlebotomist in Mobile Alabama

How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Mobile AL

Mobile AL phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientChoosing the right phlebotomist training near Mobile AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, most potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into 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 a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.

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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description

Mobile AL phlebotomy laboratory techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order 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 tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Mobile AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?

The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Mobile AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.

Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification

blood analysis done in Mobile AL laboratoryThere are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as 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 hiring 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including 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 provides a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees

Mobile AL student attending phlebotomy school onlineFirst, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Mobile AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program 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 method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges

Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college 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 phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working 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 enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Mobile AL job market.

What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Mobile AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final 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 Enough Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.

Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Mobile AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Mobile AL healthcare community.

Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Mobile AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.

Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Mobile Alabama

Mobile AL phlebotomist lab blood testingMaking sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Mobile AL.