How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy School near Mobile AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Mobile AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In reality, many potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk 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 factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Mobile AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Mobile AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Mobile AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
To begin with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Mobile AL students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Mobile AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right profession for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type 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. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Mobile AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many 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 important to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Mobile AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested 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 Plenty of Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out 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 no less than 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 provide adequate 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 receive hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Mobile AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Mobile AL health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the final program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Mobile AL, make sure 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 study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Mobile Alabama
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Mobile AL.