How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Decatur Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Decatur AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, most prospective students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Decatur AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Decatur AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Decatur AL employers require certification before hiring 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Decatur AL students. As an added benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you want 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 Decatur AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist 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 be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Decatur AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact several Decatur AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask 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 schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be working 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 furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Decatur AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Decatur AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even 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 procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Decatur AL medical environments, well this job 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 will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and 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 Best Decatur Phlebotomy Program
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Decatur Alabama.