How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy School near Princeton AL
Picking the right phlebotomy training near Princeton AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, most prospective students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Princeton AL laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Princeton AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education together with 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Princeton AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Princeton AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in 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 quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Princeton AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Princeton AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out 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 placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Princeton AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn 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 provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Princeton AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Princeton AL health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Princeton AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even 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 in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Princeton Alabama
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may vary slightly across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Princeton AL.