How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Cullman Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomy technician training near Cullman AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Cullman AL laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Cullman AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, a number of Cullman AL employers require certification before 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares 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 possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical option for many Cullman AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin 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 college is significant if you will be commuting from Cullman AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as 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 quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Cullman AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact some Cullman AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Cullman AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college 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 together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Cullman AL medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the final school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Cullman AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Cullman AL medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. 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 needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Choose the Right Cullman Phlebotomy School
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a variety of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Cullman Alabama.