How to Select the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Mobile AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Mobile AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, many students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Mobile AL labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Mobile AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Mobile AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the primary certifying agencies 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 Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical option for many Mobile AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. 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 online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating 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 numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Mobile AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact 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 looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Mobile AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Mobile AL medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate college you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to 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, verify it is an option as well. 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 policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Mobile Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully research and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Mobile AL.