How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Princeton AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near Princeton AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. 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 select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Princeton AL laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Princeton AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Princeton AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the primary certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Princeton AL students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Princeton AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Princeton AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. 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 before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select 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 school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Princeton AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with a few Princeton AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing 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 Enough Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Princeton AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority 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 Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend 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, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Princeton Alabama
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Princeton AL.