How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Princeton AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Princeton AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In fact, most potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time 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 can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Princeton AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Princeton AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can 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 practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Princeton 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical option for some Princeton AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Princeton AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Princeton AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Princeton AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Princeton AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high 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 a large network of professional contacts within the Princeton AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Princeton AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Princeton Alabama
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling 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 can be offered in a number of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Princeton AL.