How to Find the Best Phlebotomy School near Centre Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Centre AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually far 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. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time 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 may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Centre AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Centre AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Centre AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the main 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion 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. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Centre AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Centre AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may have 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 advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, 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. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Centre AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with several Centre AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing 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 considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Centre AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Centre AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Centre AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Centre AL medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice 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 most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it 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 profession for you.
Choose the Right Centre Phlebotomy Program
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Centre Alabama.