How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Mobile Alabama
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician school near Mobile AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, many students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind 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 important considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Mobile AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Mobile AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, most Mobile AL employers look for certification before 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Mobile AL students. As an added benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just confirm 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 method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Mobile AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing 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 be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits 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 take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Mobile AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Mobile AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 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 adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Mobile AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Mobile AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Mobile AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. Even 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 procedure is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Mobile AL medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care 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 may be the perfect profession for you.
Choose the Right Mobile Phlebotomy Training
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a number of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Mobile Alabama.