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Become a Phlebotomist in Vestavia Hills Alabama

How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Vestavia Hills AL

Vestavia Hills AL phlebotomy tech drawing bloodSelecting the ideal phlebotomist training near Vestavia Hills AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.

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Phlebotomist Job Description

Vestavia Hills AL phlebotomy lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Vestavia Hills AL laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Vestavia Hills AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis done in Vestavia Hills AL labThere are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Vestavia Hills AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the primary certifying organizations include:

  • National Phlebotomy Association
  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
  • American Medical Technologists (AMT)

There are a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees

Vestavia Hills Alabama student attending phlebotomy classes onlineFirst, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Vestavia Hills AL students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.

Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?

First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Vestavia Hills AL medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists often work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care 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 interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.

Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges

What to ask Vestavia Hills AL phlebotomy schoolsSince you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Vestavia Hills AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may have to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Vestavia Hills AL job market.

What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out 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 screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Vestavia Hills AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Vestavia Hills AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Vestavia Hills AL health care community.

Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify 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 fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Vestavia Hills Alabama

Making certain that you select the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Vestavia Hills AL.