How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy School near Gulf Shores Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomist training near Gulf Shores AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review 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 locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out to be able 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Gulf Shores AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Gulf Shores AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing 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, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Gulf Shores AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed 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-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Gulf Shores AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Courses
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Gulf Shores AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All 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. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining 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 future employers in the Gulf Shores AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer 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 as well. You can also check with some Gulf Shores AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, contact 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 at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not available 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 Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at offer 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 a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Gulf Shores AL medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Gulf Shores AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure 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 due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Gulf Shores AL medical facilities, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and 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 Best Gulf Shores Phlebotomist Course
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Gulf Shores Alabama.