How to Select the Best Phlebotomist School near Vestavia Hills AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Vestavia Hills AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Vestavia Hills AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Vestavia Hills AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a general education together with 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, many Vestavia Hills AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the primary 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed 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 portion of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Vestavia Hills AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). 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 earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Vestavia Hills AL medical facilities, well this job may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect job for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Vestavia Hills AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Vestavia Hills AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates 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 also contact a few Vestavia Hills AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Vestavia Hills AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding 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 college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Vestavia Hills AL health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Vestavia Hills AL.