How to Find the Best Phlebotomy School near Clanton Alabama
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Clanton AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, most students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Clanton AL laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Clanton AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Clanton AL employers require 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Clanton AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen 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 school is important if you will be commuting from Clanton AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need 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 readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Clanton AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Clanton AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer 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 total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, check with 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 phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Clanton AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Clanton AL health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the final school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Clanton AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Clanton AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably 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 helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Choose the Right Clanton Phlebotomy Course
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Clanton Alabama.