How to Select the Right Phlebotomy School near Gulf Shores Alabama
Selecting the right phlebotomist training near Gulf Shores AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In fact, many prospective students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit 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 cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection 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 pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Gulf Shores AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Gulf Shores AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides 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 on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, most Gulf Shores AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the key certifying organizations 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part 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 completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Gulf Shores AL students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
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 chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Gulf Shores AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Gulf Shores AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all 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 assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Gulf Shores AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see 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 submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be working 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 (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Gulf Shores AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Gulf Shores AL health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Gulf Shores AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, 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 fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable 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 often work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Pick the Right Gulf Shores Phlebotomy Training
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each college before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Gulf Shores Alabama.