How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy School near Alabaster Alabama
Picking the ideal phlebotomist training near Alabaster AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab 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 actually work in Alabaster AL laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, including Alabaster AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Alabaster AL employers look for certification before 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 a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Alabaster AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start 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 school is important if you will be commuting from Alabaster AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. 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 any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected 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 school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Alabaster AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Alabaster AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Alabaster AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Alabaster AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Alabaster AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may 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 could be the right job for you.
Choose the Best Alabaster Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alabaster Alabama.