How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near East Florence Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near East Florence AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. 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 address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. 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. A number of phlebotomists actually work in East Florence AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality control 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 do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including East Florence AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of East Florence AL employers require certification prior to 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion 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. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many East Florence AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from East Florence AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example 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. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the East Florence AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with several East Florence AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final 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 full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, check with 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 considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local East Florence AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the East Florence AL medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to make sure that the final program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near East Florence AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other East Florence AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.
Pick the Right East Florence Phlebotomy Program
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each program before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in East Florence Alabama.