How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Calera Alabama
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy training near Calera AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of students begin their search by considering 2 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 local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should 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 then continue our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly 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 lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Calera AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Calera AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type 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 collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in most states, a number of Calera AL employers look for certification prior to hiring 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for many Calera AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Calera AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, 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 working and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a superior 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 earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Calera AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools 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 internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact some Calera AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As 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 practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Calera AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Calera AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Calera AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Calera AL medical facilities, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and 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 may be the perfect job for you.
Pick the Best Calera Phlebotomy Course
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a variety of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Calera Alabama.