How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Clanton Alabama
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy training near Clanton AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit 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 locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. 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. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Clanton AL labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Clanton AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, 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 drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two 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 general education together with 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, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, most Clanton AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the key 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, 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 provides a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the program of studies 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 alternative for many Clanton AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Clanton AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Clanton AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools 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 a few Clanton AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 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 Included? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Clanton AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most 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 Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Clanton AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Clanton AL medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Pick the Best Clanton Phlebotomist Program
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a number of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each school 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 select the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Clanton Alabama.