How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Vestavia Hills AL
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician school near Vestavia Hills AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify 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. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening 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 actually work in Vestavia Hills AL labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education together with 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 exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Vestavia Hills AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for many Vestavia Hills AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Vestavia Hills AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Vestavia Hills AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. 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 practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from 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. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Vestavia Hills AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Vestavia Hills AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 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 expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal means 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 healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Vestavia Hills AL health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. 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 ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a number of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each college before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Vestavia Hills AL.