How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Gadsden Alabama
Selecting the right phlebotomist school near Gadsden AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, many students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important 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 reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Gadsden AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Gadsden AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in most states, most Gadsden AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few 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 phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Gadsden AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Courses
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior 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 earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Gadsden AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, 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 schools you are looking at. 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 reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Gadsden AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, check with 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at 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 signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Gadsden AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to make sure that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Gadsden AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Gadsden AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care 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 needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right profession for you.
Choose the Right Gadsden Phlebotomy Training
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Gadsden Alabama.