How to Find the Best Phlebotomist School near Headland Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy school near Headland AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Headland AL labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Headland AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, many 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good 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 prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for many Headland AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected 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 college is significant if you will be commuting from Headland AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a respected national or regional 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 a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, 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. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Headland AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few Headland AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Headland AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire 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 program has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Headland AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Headland 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 sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Headland AL medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect job for you.
Pick the Right Headland Phlebotomy Course
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a wide range of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Headland Alabama.