How to Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Course near Irondale Alabama
Picking the ideal phlebotomist school near Irondale AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main task, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Irondale AL laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Irondale AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Irondale AL employers look for certification before 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part 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. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Irondale AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, 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 school is significant if you will be commuting from Irondale AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted 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 making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, 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 often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Irondale AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few Irondale AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs 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 available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Irondale AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Irondale AL health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Irondale AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Irondale AL medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it 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 profession for you.
Pick the Right Irondale Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Irondale Alabama.