How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Course near Prattville AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist school near Prattville AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, most students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby 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 such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Prattville AL laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Prattville AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind 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 practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many Prattville AL employers require certification before 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, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical option for some Prattville AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you select 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 quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Prattville AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that meets 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 College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick 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 a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Prattville AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Prattville AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Prattville AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs 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 program has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Prattville AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Prattville AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Prattville Alabama
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully research and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Prattville AL.