How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Tuscaloosa AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy training near Tuscaloosa AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of potential students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Tuscaloosa AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively 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 blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means 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 phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Tuscaloosa AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient option for some Tuscaloosa AL students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Tuscaloosa AL medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you intend 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 in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy 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 begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Tuscaloosa AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At 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 clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Tuscaloosa AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa AL.