How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Bessemer Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Bessemer AL is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Bessemer AL laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Bessemer AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route 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 on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Bessemer AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the key 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for some Bessemer AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
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 selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Bessemer AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Bessemer AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all schools you are considering. 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 research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Bessemer AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact 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 considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Bessemer AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Bessemer AL health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Bessemer AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical 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 due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Bessemer AL medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required 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 patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect job for you.
Choose the Best Bessemer Phlebotomy School
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bessemer Alabama.