How to Select the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Vestavia Hills AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Vestavia Hills AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, most prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might 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's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Vestavia Hills AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Vestavia Hills AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, most Vestavia Hills AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the principal certifying agencies 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 additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Vestavia Hills AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Vestavia Hills AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Vestavia Hills AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few Vestavia Hills AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Vestavia Hills AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage 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 along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Vestavia Hills AL health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the final program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 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 Best Phlebotomist Training near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can differ slightly across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each college before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Vestavia Hills AL.