How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Albertville Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Albertville AL is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, most prospective students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Albertville AL labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Albertville AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method 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 to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Albertville AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the main certifying agencies 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, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Albertville AL students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you select 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 quality 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 choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked 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 school is relevant if you will be commuting from Albertville AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for 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 phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Albertville AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Albertville AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask 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 filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Albertville AL health care 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 help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Albertville AL medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Albertville AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Albertville AL medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical 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 don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Choose the Best Albertville Phlebotomist Course
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Albertville Alabama.