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Become a Phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa Alabama

How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Classes near Tuscaloosa AL

Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientSelecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Tuscaloosa AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In fact, a large number of students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection 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 ideal 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 Career Summary

Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. 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 Tuscaloosa AL laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, including Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification

blood analysis performed in Tuscaloosa AL labThere are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, many Tuscaloosa AL employers require 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomist Online Schools

Tuscaloosa AL student attending phlebotomy school onlineFirst, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Tuscaloosa AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges

Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected 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 campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist 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 be required to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national 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. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.

What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few Tuscaloosa AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community.

Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, 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 practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.

Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Tuscaloosa Alabama

Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomy laboratory blood testingMaking certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tuscaloosa AL.