How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Midfield Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Midfield AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must 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 select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening 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 Midfield AL laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Midfield AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Midfield AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal 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 phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it may be a more practical option for some Midfield AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Midfield AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working 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 phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Midfield AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Midfield AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing 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 reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Midfield AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing 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 an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Midfield AL medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to make sure that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Midfield AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Midfield AL medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect job for you.
Choose the Best Midfield Phlebotomist Program
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Midfield Alabama.