How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Prattville AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Prattville AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools 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 such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Prattville AL laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Prattville AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes 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 exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive 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, many Prattville AL employers look for 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for some Prattville AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Prattville AL medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right profession for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, 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 decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Prattville AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact several Prattville AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? 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 classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Prattville AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning 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 Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the final program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only 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. 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 find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Prattville Alabama
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ slightly 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 thoroughly research and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Prattville AL.