How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Prattville AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Prattville AL is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, most prospective students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection 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 pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Prattville AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Prattville AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, 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, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly 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 environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. 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 community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Prattville AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the primary 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 important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Prattville AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Prattville AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college 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 phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students 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 also check with several Prattville AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer 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 total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical 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 also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges 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 jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Prattville AL health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Prattville AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Prattville Alabama
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each college before 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 right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Prattville AL.