How to Select the Best Phlebotomist School near Decatur Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy school near Decatur AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point 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 may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Decatur AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Decatur AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many Decatur AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the principal 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
First, let's dispel one possible 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 conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Decatur AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Courses
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Decatur AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets 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 College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of 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 take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically 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 Decatur AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start 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 agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Decatur AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Decatur AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Decatur AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Decatur AL medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Choose the Best Decatur Phlebotomy Program
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Decatur Alabama.