How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Mobile AL
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Mobile AL is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right 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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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Mobile AL labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Mobile AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Mobile AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for some Mobile AL students. As an added benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Mobile AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Mobile AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact several Mobile AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask 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 filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at 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 signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not provided 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 Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering 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 positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Mobile AL medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Mobile AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Mobile Alabama
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Mobile AL.