How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Hamilton Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Hamilton AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In reality, most students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might consider 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 keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is actually 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 accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Hamilton AL laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, such as Hamilton AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest 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 to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Hamilton AL employers require certification prior to 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be clinical 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. But since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for some Hamilton AL students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you 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 selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Hamilton AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Hamilton AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few Hamilton AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Hamilton AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Hamilton AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Hamilton AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Hamilton AL medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected 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 patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Pick the Right Hamilton Phlebotomy Course
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Hamilton Alabama.