How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Course near Gulf Shores Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Gulf Shores AL is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many potential students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online schools 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 variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process also. 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 best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Gulf Shores AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Gulf Shores AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw 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 blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from senior 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 setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education as well as 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 specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. After 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 employing 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Gulf Shores AL students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
What 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 may have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Gulf Shores AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Gulf Shores AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? 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 essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with several Gulf Shores AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to find out 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 clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Gulf Shores AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Gulf Shores AL medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while going to 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. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study 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 due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Gulf Shores AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Pick the Right Gulf Shores Phlebotomist School
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each college before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Gulf Shores Alabama.