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Become a Phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa Alabama

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

Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomy tech drawing bloodChoosing the ideal phlebotomist training near Tuscaloosa AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, 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 prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.

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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary

Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomist laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports 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. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Tuscaloosa AL labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?

The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing

blood testing done in Tuscaloosa AL laboratoryThere 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 finish and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Tuscaloosa AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few 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 California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomy Online Colleges

Tuscaloosa AL student attending phlebotomy school onlineFirst, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Tuscaloosa AL students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.

Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools

Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.

What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Tuscaloosa AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest 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 ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Ample Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 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 expansive enough to offer adequate training.

Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL health care community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. 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 ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.

Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Tuscaloosa Alabama

Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomist lab blood analysisMaking sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa AL.