How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Classes near Tuscaloosa AL
Selecting the right phlebotomist training near Tuscaloosa AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Tuscaloosa AL laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general 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 exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished 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 primary certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
First, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical option for some Tuscaloosa AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Tuscaloosa AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work around anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right profession for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any 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 placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact some Tuscaloosa AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? 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 looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the final program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to school. 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 on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. 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 find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered 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 medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa AL.