How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Tuscaloosa AL
Picking the right phlebotomy technician training near Tuscaloosa AL is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, many prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss 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 factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important 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 pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main task, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs 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 delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Tuscaloosa AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility 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 solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method 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 on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, a number of Tuscaloosa AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Tuscaloosa AL students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with a few Tuscaloosa AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Tuscaloosa AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to verify that the final program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while going to 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, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each program before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tuscaloosa AL.