How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Fairhope Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Fairhope AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, many potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Fairhope AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, including Fairhope AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Fairhope AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal 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 phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Fairhope AL students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Fairhope AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Fairhope AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges 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 screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Fairhope AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Fairhope AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Fairhope AL health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairhope AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Fairhope AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice 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 many medical facilities are open around the clock, 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 interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right job for you.
Choose the Right Fairhope Phlebotomy Training
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Fairhope Alabama.