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Become a Phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa Alabama

How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Tuscaloosa AL

Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomist drawing blood from patientChoosing the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Tuscaloosa AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk 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 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 as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.

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Phlebotomist Work Description

Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomist laboratory techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Tuscaloosa AL laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis done in Tuscaloosa AL laboratoryThere are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Tuscaloosa AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal 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 phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomy Schools

Tuscaloosa AL student attending phlebotomy training onlineTo start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part 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 on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.

Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?

Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Tuscaloosa AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right job for you.

Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools

What to ask Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.

What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Tuscaloosa AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out 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 working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As 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 below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.

Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Tuscaloosa AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL medical community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to verify that the final school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.

Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Tuscaloosa Alabama

Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each program before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa AL.