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Become a Phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa Alabama

How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Tuscaloosa AL

Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomist drawing bloodPicking the right phlebotomist training near Tuscaloosa AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.

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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary

Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomy lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Tuscaloosa AL laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers 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 collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing

blood testing performed in Tuscaloosa AL labThere are basically two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, many Tuscaloosa AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key certifying agencies 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 phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomy Schools

Tuscaloosa AL student attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Tuscaloosa AL students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.

Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?

Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Tuscaloosa AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists often work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs

What to ask Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomy schoolsSince you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your final decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school 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 a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.

What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any schools you are considering. 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 ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Tuscaloosa AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 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 Provided? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial 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 ultimate program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure 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 protocol is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.

Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Tuscaloosa Alabama

Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary slightly across the country as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa AL.