How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Headland Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Headland AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection 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 pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Headland AL labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Headland AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Headland AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Headland AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Courses
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Headland AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with 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 phlebotomy school and program you select 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 a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Headland AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with a few Headland AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools 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 considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Headland AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Headland AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to verify that the final school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Headland AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Headland AL medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may 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 helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Choose the Best Headland Phlebotomist Course
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Headland Alabama.