How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Mobile Alabama
Picking the ideal phlebotomy training near Mobile AL is an important first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many prospective 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 might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Mobile AL laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, including Mobile AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home 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. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, most Mobile AL employers require 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
First, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Mobile AL students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind 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 relevant if you will be commuting from Mobile AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized 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 program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Mobile AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet 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 be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient 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. At 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 less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Mobile AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Mobile AL medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Mobile AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study 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 as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?
Anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Mobile AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Choose the Best Mobile Phlebotomy Program
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a number of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Mobile Alabama.