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How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Columbiana Alabama

Columbiana Alabama phlebotomist drawing blood from patient's armPicking the ideal phlebotomy school near Columbiana AL is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option 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 finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.

Phlebotomist Career Description

Columbiana Alabama phlebotomy technician examining blood samplesA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Columbiana AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?

The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, including Columbiana AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification

Columbiana Alabama phlebotomy technician examining a blood sampleThere are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Columbiana AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the main 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 phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees

blood sample in test tube Columbiana AlabamaTo start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient option for many Columbiana AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). 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 study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Courses

Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Columbiana AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may have to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium 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 earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Columbiana AL job market.

What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy 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 reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Columbiana AL hospitals or clinics that you might 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 ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Included? 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs 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 added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Columbiana AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Columbiana AL health care community.

Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Columbiana AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.

Find Out More About Columbiana Phlebotomy Courses

Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?

Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Columbiana AL medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice 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 drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings 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 may be the right profession for you.

Choose the Right Columbiana Phlebotomy Training

Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options may vary slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Columbiana Alabama.


 

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