How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Tuscaloosa AL
Picking the right phlebotomy training near Tuscaloosa AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, many students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider 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 you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Tuscaloosa AL laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Tuscaloosa AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest 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 provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two 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 be certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Tuscaloosa AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Tuscaloosa AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are nervous 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. Phlebotomists often work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably 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 compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example 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 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 obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are considering. 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 research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact several Tuscaloosa AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full 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 length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Tuscaloosa AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a wide range of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa AL.