How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Tuscaloosa AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near Tuscaloosa AL is an important first step toward a rewarding 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 necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, most potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should 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 then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Tuscaloosa AL laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Tuscaloosa AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many Tuscaloosa AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the key certifying agencies 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the curriculum 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 in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for some Tuscaloosa AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Tuscaloosa AL medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may 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 college is significant if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Tuscaloosa AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate 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 a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. 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 policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Making certain that you choose the right 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 several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa AL.