How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Evergreen Alabama
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Evergreen AL is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, many potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes 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 far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including 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 should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers 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 actually work in Evergreen AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Evergreen AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
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 offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Evergreen AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for some Evergreen AL students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (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 earning your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Evergreen AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. 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. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Evergreen AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Evergreen AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Evergreen AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Evergreen AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to make sure that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Evergreen AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study 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 should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Evergreen AL medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right job for you.
Choose the Best Evergreen Phlebotomist Course
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Evergreen Alabama.