How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Princeton AL
Choosing the right phlebotomy training near Princeton AL is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, most students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools 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 including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Princeton AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Princeton AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, many Princeton AL employers look for 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the course of study 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 prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Princeton AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Princeton AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable 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 school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Princeton AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few Princeton AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Princeton AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out 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 the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Princeton AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Princeton AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Princeton Alabama
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit 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 must carefully research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Princeton AL.