How to Select the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Enterprise Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Enterprise AL is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most prospective students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection 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 assessing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Enterprise AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Enterprise AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, most Enterprise AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the principal 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical option for some Enterprise AL students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected 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 school is important if you will be commuting from Enterprise AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Enterprise AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Enterprise AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Enterprise AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying 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 substantial network of professional contacts within the Enterprise AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to verify that the final school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Enterprise AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Enterprise AL medical facilities, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Pick the Best Enterprise Phlebotomist Program
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Enterprise Alabama.