How to Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Highland Lakes Alabama
Picking the ideal phlebotomist school near Highland Lakes AL is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. 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 an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Highland Lakes AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Highland Lakes AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and furnishes 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Highland Lakes AL employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the principal 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 phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for many Highland Lakes AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen 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 Highland Lakes AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Highland Lakes AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Highland Lakes AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical 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 schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Highland Lakes AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting 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 percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Highland Lakes AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Highland Lakes AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Highland Lakes AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right profession for you.
Pick the Right Highland Lakes Phlebotomy Course
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may differ a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Highland Lakes Alabama.