How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Prattville AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near Prattville AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, most prospective students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process also. 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 ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Prattville AL labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Prattville AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 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 provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, most Prattville AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the key certifying agencies 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 California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for many Prattville AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you want 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 Prattville AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to 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 earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Prattville AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Prattville AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical 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 are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college 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 a substantial network of professional contacts within the Prattville AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prattville AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Prattville Alabama
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may differ a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Prattville AL.