How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Tuscaloosa AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician training near Tuscaloosa AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, most students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. 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 actually work in Tuscaloosa AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, including Tuscaloosa AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Tuscaloosa AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Tuscaloosa AL students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. 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 a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Tuscaloosa AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide 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 total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, check that 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 attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist 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 fulfilling health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a number of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tuscaloosa AL.