How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Center Point Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy school near Center Point AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out to be able 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 in fact work in Center Point AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Center Point AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing 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.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Center Point AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few 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 a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Center Point AL students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Center Point AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, 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 premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, 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 frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Center Point AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Center Point AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest 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 find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, contact 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Center Point AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Center Point AL medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Center Point AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. 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 ask 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 Tech?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Center Point AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right profession for you.
Pick the Right Center Point Phlebotomist School
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may differ a bit across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Center Point Alabama.