Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Alabama laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Alabama hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Alabama employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key certifying organizations 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, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Alabama students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.