How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist School near Alexander City Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomy technician training near Alexander City AL is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In fact, a large number of students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. 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 Alexander City AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Alexander City AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working 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 every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Alexander City AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
First, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant 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 completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Alexander City AL students. As an added benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Alexander City AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Alexander City AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Alexander City AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Alexander City AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering 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 jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alexander City AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alexander City AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure 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 policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Alexander City AL medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with nervous 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 expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with 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 Right Alexander City Phlebotomist Program
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alexander City Alabama.