How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist School near Bessemer Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Bessemer AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online 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 much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main task, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Bessemer AL labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Bessemer AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Bessemer AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the principal 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, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative 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 are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion 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. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Bessemer AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Bessemer AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are a critical component 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 need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Bessemer AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Bessemer AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? 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 clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide 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 comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Bessemer AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs 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 jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Bessemer AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Bessemer AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Bessemer AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
Pick the Best Bessemer Phlebotomy Training
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential 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 premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Bessemer Alabama.