How to Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Tuscaloosa AL
Choosing the right phlebotomy training near Tuscaloosa AL is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk 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 locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection 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 reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is in fact 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. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed 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 in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Tuscaloosa AL labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, many Tuscaloosa AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the key 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, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Tuscaloosa AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you wish 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 in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams 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 agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of 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 the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. 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 provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing 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 program has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you need to 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 on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tuscaloosa AL.