How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Course near Princeton AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Princeton AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right 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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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Princeton AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, including Princeton AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Princeton AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the primary 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 few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical option for many Princeton AL students. As an added benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Princeton AL medical facilities, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Princeton AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Princeton AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? 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 imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Princeton AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Princeton AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Princeton AL health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the final program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Princeton AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure 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 need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Princeton Alabama
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may vary somewhat across the country 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 carefully research and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Princeton AL.