How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Jacksonville Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Jacksonville AL is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to assess and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, many potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes 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 much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Jacksonville AL laboratories 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 might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Jacksonville AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Jacksonville AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the principal 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 phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical option for many Jacksonville AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
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 chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Jacksonville AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Jacksonville AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin 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 reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Jacksonville AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient 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 length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish 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 a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Jacksonville AL health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Jacksonville AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, 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 completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous 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 routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Choose the Right Jacksonville Phlebotomy Program
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Jacksonville Alabama.