How to Select the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Lincoln Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near Lincoln AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking 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 get a superior education. In fact, many students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Lincoln AL laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Lincoln AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Lincoln AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including 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 provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Lincoln AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you select 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 quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Lincoln AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Lincoln AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all schools you are looking at. 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 research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with some Lincoln AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested 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 filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact 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 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 lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Lincoln AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying 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 substantial network of professional contacts within the Lincoln AL medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lincoln AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Lincoln AL medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right profession for you.
Choose the Right Lincoln Phlebotomy Course
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Lincoln Alabama.