How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Classes near Mobile Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Mobile AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, most prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Mobile AL laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Mobile AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Mobile AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the primary 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for many Mobile AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked 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 school is important if you will be commuting from Mobile AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school 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 offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Mobile AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Mobile 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 complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As 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 lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Mobile AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Mobile AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Mobile AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Mobile AL medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right job for you.
Choose the Right Mobile Phlebotomist Program
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options may differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Mobile Alabama.