How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Gardendale Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomy training near Gardendale AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose 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 Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Gardendale AL labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Gardendale AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route 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. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Gardendale AL employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the primary certifying agencies 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 other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for many Gardendale AL students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you choose 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 method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Gardendale AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Gardendale AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. 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 research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Gardendale AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient 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 classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Gardendale AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Gardendale AL health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Gardendale AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Gardendale AL medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and 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 could be the perfect profession for you.
Choose the Best Gardendale Phlebotomist Course
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a variety of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each college before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Gardendale Alabama.