How to Find the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Vestavia Hills AL
Selecting the right phlebotomy school near Vestavia Hills AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, 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 best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. 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. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Vestavia Hills AL laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing 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 Practice?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, such as Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing 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.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Vestavia Hills AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying organizations 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Vestavia Hills AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Vestavia Hills AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Vestavia Hills AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact several 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 find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Vestavia Hills AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Vestavia Hills AL health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right 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 rewarding healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Vestavia Hills AL.