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Become a Phlebotomist in Vestavia Hills Alabama

How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Vestavia Hills AL

Vestavia Hills AL phlebotomist drawing bloodPicking the right phlebotomy technician school near Vestavia Hills AL is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Work Summary

Vestavia Hills AL phlebotomy laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, 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 has to check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Vestavia Hills AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested 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 are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?

The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Vestavia Hills AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.

Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis done in Vestavia Hills AL labThere are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education along 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 on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in most states, many Vestavia Hills AL employers look for 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomy Online Training

Vestavia Hills AL student attending phlebotomy school onlineFirst, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical option for many Vestavia Hills AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools

Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Vestavia Hills AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Vestavia Hills AL job market.

What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Vestavia Hills AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, contact 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 phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Vestavia Hills AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing provide 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 school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Vestavia Hills AL healthcare community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.

Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Vestavia Hills Alabama

Vestavia Hills AL phlebotomist laboratory blood analysisMaking certain that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Vestavia Hills AL.