How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Florence Alabama
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Florence AL is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, 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 prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Florence AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Florence AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing 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 setting 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 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively 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 less available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Florence AL employers require certification before 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 a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part 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. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Florence AL students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Florence AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Florence AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. 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 online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Florence AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted 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 learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority 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 Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Florence AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Florence AL health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Florence AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Florence AL medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists 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, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
Choose the Right Florence Phlebotomy Training
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Florence Alabama.