How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Mobile AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Mobile AL is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will provide 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 then continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Mobile AL labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and varied, including Mobile AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides 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 specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Mobile AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the key 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 phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical option for some Mobile AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type 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 important if you will be commuting from Mobile AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with 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 enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Mobile AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous 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 essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. 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 final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Mobile AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Mobile AL health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Mobile AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Mobile Alabama
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully research and compare each school before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Mobile AL.