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Become a Phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa Alabama

How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Tuscaloosa AL

Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientEnrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician school 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 training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into 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 remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.

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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary

Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomist laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Tuscaloosa AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?

The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Tuscaloosa AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis done in Tuscaloosa AL labThere are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education together 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, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, most Tuscaloosa AL employers require 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomist Training

Tuscaloosa Alabama student attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Tuscaloosa AL students. As an added benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.

Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools

Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.

What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Tuscaloosa AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested 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 filed or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Enough 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 phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.

Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Tuscaloosa AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at 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 together with a large network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL health care community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially important if you decide to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.

Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Tuscaloosa Alabama

Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomy lab blood testingMaking certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a number of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tuscaloosa AL.