How to Select the Right Phlebotomist School near Homewood Alabama
Picking the ideal phlebotomist school near Homewood AL is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly 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 lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Homewood AL laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Homewood AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, many Homewood AL employers require certification before 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for many Homewood AL students. As an added benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Courses
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Homewood AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies 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 Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as 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. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Homewood AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Homewood AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be working 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 provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Homewood AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Homewood AL medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Homewood AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?
Anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Homewood AL medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Pick the Right Homewood Phlebotomist School
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Homewood Alabama.