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How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Hoover Alabama

Hoover Alabama phlebotomist drawing blood from man's armSelecting the right phlebotomy school near Hoover AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, most prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing 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 as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.

Phlebotomy Technician Work Description

Hoover Alabama phlebotomist testing blood samplesA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able 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 tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Hoover AL labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?

The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and varied, such as Hoover AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.

Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification

Hoover Alabama phlebotomy technician examining a blood sampleThere are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education together 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 to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Hoover AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key certifying agencies include:

  • National Phlebotomy Association
  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
  • American Medical Technologists (AMT)

There are several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomist Online Training

sample of blood in test tube Hoover AlabamaTo begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Hoover AL students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). 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 study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.

Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

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 might have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Hoover AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Hoover AL job market.

What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Hoover AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer 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 colleges are in full compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be working 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 considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Hoover AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Hoover AL health care community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hoover AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.

Learn More About Hoover Phlebotomy Programs

Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?

Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Hoover AL medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right job for you.

Choose the Best Hoover Phlebotomy Course

Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program before 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 pick the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Hoover Alabama.


 

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