How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Meadowbrook Alabama
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Meadowbrook AL is an important initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection 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 select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Meadowbrook AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Meadowbrook AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means 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. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Meadowbrook AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Meadowbrook AL students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Courses
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Meadowbrook AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing 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 exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Meadowbrook AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer 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 also contact several Meadowbrook AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing 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 Ample Training Provided? To begin with, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority 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 programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Meadowbrook AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Meadowbrook AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to confirm that the final program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Meadowbrook AL, make certain 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 study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Meadowbrook AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably 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 interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right profession for you.
Choose the Right Meadowbrook Phlebotomy Program
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each program before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Meadowbrook Alabama.