How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Florence Alabama
Choosing the right phlebotomist training near Florence AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, 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 utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Florence AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Florence AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Florence AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the primary 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical option for some Florence AL students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Florence AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist 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 requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Florence AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates 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 also contact several Florence AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Florence AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges 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 jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Florence AL health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Florence AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Florence AL medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect job for you.
Choose the Right Florence Phlebotomist School
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each school before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Florence Alabama.