How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Gulf Shores Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Gulf Shores AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to assess and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must 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 information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able 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 Gulf Shores AL laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Gulf Shores AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education along 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 phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, most Gulf Shores AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the key 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
First, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out 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 may be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Gulf Shores AL students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Gulf Shores AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Gulf Shores AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Gulf Shores AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Gulf Shores AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire 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 the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Gulf Shores AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the final college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Gulf Shores AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Gulf Shores AL medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings 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 patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect job for you.
Choose the Best Gulf Shores Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options can differ slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Gulf Shores Alabama.