How to Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Prattville AL
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Prattville AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should 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 cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab 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 sure that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Prattville AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting 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 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Prattville AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the primary 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 phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant 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. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Prattville AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics 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 might have already picked 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 college is relevant if you will be commuting from Prattville AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for 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 unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, 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 Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any schools 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 screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Prattville AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide 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 Ample 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 reviewing should provide at least 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 comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Prattville AL health care 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 help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good 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 important to verify that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Prattville AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. 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 procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Learn How to Become a Phlebotomist
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Prattville Alabama
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a number of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Prattville AL.