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Become a Phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa Alabama

How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Tuscaloosa AL

Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomist drawing bloodEnrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Tuscaloosa AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, most prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, 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 before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.

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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description

Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomy lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Tuscaloosa AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Tuscaloosa AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification

blood testing performed in Tuscaloosa AL laboratoryThere are primarily 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Tuscaloosa AL employers require certification before employing technicians. Some 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomy Online Training

Tuscaloosa AL woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the course of study will be practical 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 completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it may be a more practical option for some Tuscaloosa AL students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.

Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?

First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who chooses 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 probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.

Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools

What to ask Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomy schoolsSince you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing 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. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose 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 advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.

What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Tuscaloosa AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Included? First, 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 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 comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.

Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL medical community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify 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 ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.

Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Tuscaloosa Alabama

Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa AL.