How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Meadowbrook Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Meadowbrook AL is an important first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. 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 ideal 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.
Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing 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 Meadowbrook AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Meadowbrook AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education together with 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 specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Meadowbrook AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, 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 supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good 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. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for many Meadowbrook AL students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on 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 college is significant if you will be commuting from Meadowbrook AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Meadowbrook AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Meadowbrook AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Meadowbrook AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Meadowbrook AL medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Meadowbrook AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. 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 find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Meadowbrook AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and 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 may be the perfect profession for you.
Choose the Right Meadowbrook Phlebotomy Course
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an important 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 quality program. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Meadowbrook Alabama.