How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Prattville AL
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician training near Prattville AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot 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 must be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the right 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 Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Prattville AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Prattville AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Prattville AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the curriculum 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 completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical option for some Prattville AL students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Prattville AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. 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 Ranking? In a number of states there is little 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 schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Prattville AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, contact 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Prattville AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing provide 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 an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Prattville AL medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Prattville AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Prattville Alabama
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Prattville AL.