How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Elba Alabama
Selecting the right phlebotomy training near Elba AL is an important first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk 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 variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Elba AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Elba AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Elba AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To start with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the course of study 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 in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Elba AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Elba AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior 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 getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Elba AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Elba AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be working 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 furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Elba AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Elba AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Elba AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Elba AL medical facilities, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, 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 compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect job for you.
Pick the Best Elba Phlebotomy School
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomy 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 college. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a wide range of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Elba Alabama.