How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Atmore Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Atmore AL is an important first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, many potential students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby 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 checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing 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 continue our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point 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 tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Atmore AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Atmore AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Atmore AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for many Atmore AL students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). 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 study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
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 decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Atmore AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, 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 organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Atmore AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Atmore AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish 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 offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Atmore AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Atmore AL medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Atmore AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Atmore AL medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably 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 right job for you.
Choose the Best Atmore Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a number of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Atmore Alabama.