How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Prattville AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Prattville AL is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional 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 you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Prattville AL laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Prattville AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, most Prattville AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Prattville AL students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this means 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.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, 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 phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills 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 Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program 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 a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available 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 many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with a few Prattville AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing 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 total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training typically not provided 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? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Prattville AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prattville AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify 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 protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Prattville Alabama
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each college before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Prattville AL.