How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Training Classes near Vestavia Hills AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Vestavia Hills AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out to be able 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 screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Vestavia Hills AL labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality assurance 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 quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Vestavia Hills AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the main 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Vestavia Hills AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the short answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Vestavia Hills AL medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Vestavia Hills AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing 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 all examinations you may be required 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 agency, 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 premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Vestavia Hills AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important 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 graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask 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 see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Vestavia Hills AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Vestavia Hills AL health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to still work 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. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Vestavia Hills AL.