How to Find the Best Phlebotomist School near Homewood Alabama
Picking the ideal phlebotomist school near Homewood AL is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, many prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Homewood AL laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Homewood AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns 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 on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, many Homewood AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To start with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical option for many Homewood AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Homewood AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. 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 preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Homewood AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal 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 investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Homewood AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Homewood AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering 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 positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Homewood AL medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Homewood AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Homewood AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right job for you.
Pick the Best Homewood Phlebotomist Course
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Homewood Alabama.