How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Athens Alabama
Picking the ideal phlebotomy school near Athens AL is an important first 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 accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In fact, most potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant 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 best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Athens AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Athens AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Athens AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component 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 completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient option for some Athens AL students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Athens AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Athens AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Athens AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Athens AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning 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 Athens AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Athens AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Athens AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right profession for you.
Choose the Best Athens Phlebotomy Course
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Athens Alabama.