How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Prattville AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy training near Prattville AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed to be able 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 can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Prattville AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Prattville AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education along with 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 specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Prattville AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
First, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient option for some Prattville AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Prattville AL medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, 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 interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Prattville AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Prattville AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few Prattville AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish 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 comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Prattville AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Prattville AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Prattville AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Prattville Alabama
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each school before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Prattville AL.