How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Classes near Vestavia Hills AL
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Vestavia Hills AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students start their search by considering 2 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 a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools 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 such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility 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 certain that samples are tested properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Vestavia Hills AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the key 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion 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. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Vestavia Hills AL students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Vestavia Hills AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very 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 College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as 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 quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Vestavia Hills AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with a few Vestavia Hills AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, contact 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. At 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 practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, 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 health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to confirm that the final school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Vestavia Hills AL.