How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Fultondale Alabama
Selecting the right phlebotomist training near Fultondale AL is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important 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 evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Fultondale AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Fultondale AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Fultondale AL employers require certification prior to employing 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Fultondale AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you wish 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 Fultondale AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits 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 qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Fultondale AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place 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 also. You can also contact several Fultondale AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Fultondale AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Fultondale AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Fultondale AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend 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 because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Fultondale AL medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings 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 compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.
Pick the Best Fultondale Phlebotomy Program
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ slightly across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fultondale Alabama.