How to Select the Right Phlebotomist School near Prattville AL
Selecting the right phlebotomy training near Prattville AL is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Prattville AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Prattville AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in most states, most Prattville AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. 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 quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Prattville AL students. As an added benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose 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 dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type 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 significant if you will be commuting from Prattville AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Prattville AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Prattville AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn 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 (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Prattville AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Prattville AL medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prattville AL, check that they are offered 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 attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Prattville Alabama
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Prattville AL.