How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Training Classes near Vestavia Hills AL
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Vestavia Hills AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important 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 significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will supply 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 address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Vestavia Hills AL laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Vestavia Hills AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely 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 working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, most Vestavia Hills AL employers look for certification before hiring 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Vestavia Hills AL students. As an added benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college 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 quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type 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 significant if you will be commuting from Vestavia Hills AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, 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 requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. 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 Ranking? In a number of 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 important to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer 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 some Vestavia Hills AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. 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 full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out 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 no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Vestavia Hills AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Vestavia Hills AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend 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, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist 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 a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Vestavia Hills AL.