How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Course near Chelsea Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Chelsea AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
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 collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Chelsea AL laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Chelsea AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many Chelsea AL employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some Chelsea AL students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Chelsea AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have 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 program aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Chelsea AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Chelsea AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to find out 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 at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Chelsea AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Chelsea AL health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Chelsea 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 also. 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 find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Chelsea AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right job for you.
Choose the Right Chelsea Phlebotomist Training
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Chelsea Alabama.