How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Vestavia Hills AL
Selecting the right phlebotomist school near Vestavia Hills AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection 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 reviewing to help you pick 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 classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Vestavia Hills AL labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Vestavia Hills AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Vestavia Hills AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To begin with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for some Vestavia Hills AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Vestavia Hills AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind 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 relevant if you will be commuting from Vestavia Hills AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Vestavia Hills AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? 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 in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. 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 a few Vestavia Hills AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At 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 below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Vestavia Hills AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college 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 Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true 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, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Vestavia Hills AL.