How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Alabaster Alabama
Selecting the right phlebotomist training near Alabaster AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision 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 assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can 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 properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Alabaster AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education along 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 exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, most Alabaster AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part 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. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion 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 less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Alabaster AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification 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 practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered 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 schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Alabaster AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any 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 placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Alabaster AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out 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 provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Alabaster AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Alabaster AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend 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 need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Alabaster AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it 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 right job for you.
Choose the Best Alabaster Phlebotomy Program
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alabaster Alabama.