How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Helena Alabama
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy school near Helena AL is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, 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 address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Helena AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Helena AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For example, 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 collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, most Helena AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the main 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Helena AL students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (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 learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Courses
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Helena AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need 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 working and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable 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 school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Helena AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Helena AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Helena AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school 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 together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Helena AL medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Helena AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Helena AL medical facilities, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right job for you.
Pick the Right Helena Phlebotomist Program
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ slightly across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Helena Alabama.