How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Vestavia Hills AL
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician training near Vestavia Hills AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In reality, most potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding 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 too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Vestavia Hills AL laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Vestavia Hills AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the main 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 phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of 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 prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component 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. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for many Vestavia Hills AL students. As an added benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Vestavia Hills AL medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right profession for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind 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 cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick 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 a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Vestavia Hills AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any 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 internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with several Vestavia Hills AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? 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 classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 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 comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Vestavia Hills AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Vestavia Hills AL health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Vestavia Hills AL.