How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Cottondale Alabama
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Cottondale AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, most students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Cottondale AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and varied, including Cottondale AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, many Cottondale AL employers require certification before employing 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for many Cottondale AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in 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 superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Cottondale AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Cottondale AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with a few Cottondale AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Cottondale AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Cottondale AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Cottondale AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, 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 clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Cottondale AL medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights 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 perfect job for you.
Choose the Best Cottondale Phlebotomist Training
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Cottondale Alabama.