How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Demopolis Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Demopolis AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In fact, many potential students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing 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 tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Demopolis AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Demopolis AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based 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 collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Demopolis AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Demopolis AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you select 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 approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Courses
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start 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 mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Demopolis AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Demopolis AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? 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 important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with several Demopolis AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Demopolis AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying 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 Demopolis AL health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Demopolis AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Demopolis AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, 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 blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect job for you.
Choose the Right Demopolis Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Demopolis Alabama.