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Become a Phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa Alabama

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

Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomist drawing blood from patientEnrolling in the ideal phlebotomy school near Tuscaloosa AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may 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 cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.

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Phlebotomist Work Description

Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomist laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, 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 may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Tuscaloosa AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?

The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and varied, including Tuscaloosa AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.

Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis performed in Tuscaloosa AL labThere are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, most Tuscaloosa AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key certifying organizations 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomist Online Colleges

Tuscaloosa Alabama woman attending phlebotomy school onlineTo start with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for many Tuscaloosa AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.

Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?

First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Tuscaloosa AL medical facilities, well this job 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 taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect job for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges

Questions to ask Tuscaloosa AL phlebotomy schoolsSince you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have 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 practicing and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.

What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references 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 even contact a few Tuscaloosa AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Tuscaloosa AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot 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 school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final college you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Tuscaloosa Alabama

Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa AL.