How to Find the Best Phlebotomy School near Bay Minette Alabama
Selecting the right phlebotomist training near Bay Minette AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, many students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area 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 checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Bay Minette AL laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Bay Minette AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from senior 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 environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Bay Minette AL employers require certification prior to employing 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 phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for many Bay Minette AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Bay Minette AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Bay Minette AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Bay Minette AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, check with 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Bay Minette AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Bay Minette AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Bay Minette 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. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure 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 because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Bay Minette AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.
Choose the Right Bay Minette Phlebotomist School
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Bay Minette Alabama.