Selecting a Phlebotomy School Salem Alabama
Selecting the right phlebotomy school near Salem AL is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it’s necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, many students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We’ll talk a bit 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 such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let’s address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient’s information. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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 Salem AL area labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren’t sufficient duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their Alabama work places are many and varied, including Salem medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at Salem area community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Alabama employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it’s imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take in Alabama or where you will be practicing.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
First, let’s resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can’t get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for many Salem students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national 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 degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it’s time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on 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 school is important in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the Alabamaprograms you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it’s very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future Salem employers in the job market.
What is the College’s Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it’s essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact some Salem area hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy 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 lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Salem health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it’s an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Salem area medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it’s critical to make sure that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that will accomodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Salem, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, 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 procedure is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Select the Best Phlebotomy Program Salem ALMaking sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may vary slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist.