How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Vestavia Hills AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist training near Vestavia Hills AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, many students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will supply 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 before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Vestavia Hills AL labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Vestavia Hills AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Vestavia Hills AL employers require 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Vestavia Hills AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Vestavia Hills AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, 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 typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Vestavia Hills AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many 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 imperative to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Vestavia Hills AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, 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 classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Vestavia Hills AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Vestavia Hills AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. 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 ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary slightly across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Vestavia Hills AL.