How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Jacksonville Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Jacksonville AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Jacksonville AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Jacksonville AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education as well as 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 phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Jacksonville AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some 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 several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Jacksonville AL students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Jacksonville AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. 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 working and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected 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 program in addition to a guarantee of a superior 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 securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Jacksonville AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with several Jacksonville AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested 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 ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Jacksonville AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher 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 a large network of professional contacts within the Jacksonville AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Jacksonville AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Jacksonville AL medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and 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 may be the perfect job for you.
Pick the Best Jacksonville Phlebotomist School
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each college before making your ultimate 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 phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Jacksonville Alabama.