How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Tuscaloosa AL
Choosing the right phlebotomist training near Tuscaloosa AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose 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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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed to be able 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 can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Tuscaloosa AL laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Tuscaloosa AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged 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 solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means 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 not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, many Tuscaloosa AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the principal 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 phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Tuscaloosa AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might 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 significant if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, 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 premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact several Tuscaloosa AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide 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? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Tuscaloosa AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options may differ a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each school before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa AL.