How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Columbiana Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Columbiana AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should 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 address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly 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 screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Columbiana AL laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Columbiana AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and provides a general education together with 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 phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Columbiana AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the primary 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 phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To start with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Columbiana AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Courses
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Columbiana AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Columbiana AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Columbiana AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Columbiana AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Columbiana AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to verify that the final program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Columbiana AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Columbiana AL medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings 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 perfect job for you.
Choose the Right Columbiana Phlebotomist School
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Columbiana Alabama.