How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Tuscaloosa AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy school near Tuscaloosa AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify 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 needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Tuscaloosa AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Tuscaloosa AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns 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 each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomy 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 provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, most Tuscaloosa AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component 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 programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Tuscaloosa AL hospitals or clinics that you might 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 find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient 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 classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Tuscaloosa AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to verify that the final school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a variety of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa AL.