How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Tuscaloosa AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician training near Tuscaloosa AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, many potential students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point 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 may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Tuscaloosa AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Tuscaloosa AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest 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 junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Tuscaloosa AL employers require certification before hiring 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical option for many Tuscaloosa AL students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). 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 degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now 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 significant if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college 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 phlebotomy 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 all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact several Tuscaloosa AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final 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 Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from 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 help students establish contacts within the local Tuscaloosa AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tuscaloosa AL.