How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Princeton AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist training near Princeton AL is an important first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly 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 may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Princeton AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Princeton AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Princeton AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for some Princeton AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind 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 important if you will be commuting from Princeton AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process 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 each of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select 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 premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Princeton AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Princeton AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. 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 schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, contact 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 phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Princeton AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Princeton AL medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Princeton AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Princeton Alabama
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Princeton AL.