How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Jacksonville Alabama
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Jacksonville AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby 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 accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. 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 choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Jacksonville AL laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested correctly under 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 are Phlebotomists Employed?The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, such as Jacksonville 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 babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, 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 only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many Jacksonville AL employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the principal certifying organizations 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be practical 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 completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Jacksonville AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Courses
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Jacksonville AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
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 a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Jacksonville AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with a few Jacksonville AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be working 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 provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Jacksonville AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Jacksonville AL health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Jacksonville AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, 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 sure those hours can also be completed 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 Plebotomist?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Jacksonville AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights 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 perfect job for you.
Pick the Right Jacksonville Phlebotomy Program
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can differ a bit across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Jacksonville Alabama.