How to Find the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Prattville AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Prattville AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, many potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Prattville AL laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Prattville AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Prattville AL employers look for certification prior to hiring 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, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Prattville AL students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Prattville AL medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it 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 could be the perfect profession for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen 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 Prattville AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example 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. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Prattville AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools 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 assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Prattville AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Prattville AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Prattville AL health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prattville AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Prattville Alabama
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary slightly across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Prattville AL.