How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Mobile AL
Picking the ideal phlebotomy training near Mobile AL is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to assess and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, 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 best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Mobile AL laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many 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 of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Mobile AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the main 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 phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for some Mobile AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Mobile AL medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Mobile AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each 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 regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program 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 take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Mobile AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Mobile AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer 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 total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact 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 phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 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 expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Mobile AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Mobile AL health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Mobile AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Mobile Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Mobile AL.