How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Tuscaloosa AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy training near Tuscaloosa AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Tuscaloosa AL laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and offers 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide 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 extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Tuscaloosa AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the main certifying organizations 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 phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Tuscaloosa AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps 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 highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are considering. 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 reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Tuscaloosa AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn 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 furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Tuscaloosa AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify 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 find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a wide range of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary a bit across the country as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each school before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tuscaloosa AL.