How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Princeton AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Princeton AL is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career 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. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point 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 tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Princeton AL laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Princeton AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Princeton AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for many Princeton AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen 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 school is significant if you will be commuting from Princeton AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select 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 school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Princeton AL job market.
What is the School'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 important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact some Princeton AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact 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 Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Princeton AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Princeton AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Princeton AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. 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 should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Princeton Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a number of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Princeton AL.