How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Clay Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Clay AL is an important initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes 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 reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out to be able 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 can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Clay AL labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Clay AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility 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 practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Clay AL employers look for certification prior to 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be clinical 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 prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient option for many Clay AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Clay AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few 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 previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with 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 Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a superior 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 organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Clay AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Clay AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Clay AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Clay AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Clay 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. And if you have decided to attend 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 in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Clay AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
Pick the Right Clay Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Clay Alabama.