How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Vestavia Hills AL
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Vestavia Hills AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Vestavia Hills AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and varied, including Vestavia Hills AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns 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 every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Vestavia Hills AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
To begin with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for many Vestavia Hills AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
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 may have already chosen the kind of program you wish 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 as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Vestavia Hills AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Vestavia Hills AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? 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 classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at 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 indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Vestavia Hills AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Vestavia Hills AL medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night 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. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a number of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Vestavia Hills AL.