How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Vestavia Hills AL
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Vestavia Hills AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion 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 function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the 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 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 screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Vestavia Hills AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Vestavia Hills AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers 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 incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Vestavia Hills AL employers require certification prior to employing 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for some Vestavia Hills AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a medical 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 not comfortable in hospitals or other Vestavia Hills AL medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind 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 significant if you will be commuting from Vestavia Hills AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Vestavia Hills AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. 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 online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Vestavia Hills AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At 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 lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Vestavia Hills AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs 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 jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Vestavia Hills AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Vestavia Hills AL.