How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Prattville AL
Picking the right phlebotomy technician training near Prattville AL is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes 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 far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to 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 then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory 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 labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Prattville AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Prattville AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the main 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good 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. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Prattville AL students. As an added benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Prattville AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Prattville AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all 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 ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several Prattville AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Prattville AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Prattville AL medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prattville AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Prattville Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Prattville AL.