How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Irondale Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Irondale AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In fact, most potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will supply 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 address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point 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 screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Irondale AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Irondale AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Irondale 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 phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical option for many Irondale AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in 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 quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. 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. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several 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 Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Irondale AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. 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 internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several Irondale AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Irondale AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Irondale AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to verify that the final school you pick 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 attend classes at night or on weekends near Irondale 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 as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Irondale AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings 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 could be the right profession for you.
Choose the Right Irondale Phlebotomy Course
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary slightly across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Irondale Alabama.