How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Anniston Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomy technician training near Anniston AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk 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 locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Anniston AL laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Anniston AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw 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 specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers 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 phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Anniston AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the primary certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Anniston AL students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Anniston AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. 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 schools you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Anniston AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist 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 any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Anniston AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, check with the Alabama 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Anniston AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Anniston AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anniston AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Anniston AL medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Choose the Right Anniston Phlebotomist School
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anniston Alabama.