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How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Muscle Shoals Alabama

Muscle Shoals Alabama phlebotomist drawing blood from man's armPicking the ideal phlebotomist school near Muscle Shoals AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In fact, a large number of students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes 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 cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.

Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary

Muscle Shoals Alabama phlebotomy technician examining blood samplesA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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 in fact work in Muscle Shoals AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?

The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Muscle Shoals AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.

Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing

Muscle Shoals Alabama phlebotomy tech examining a blood sampleThere are primarily 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, most Muscle Shoals AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees

sample of blood in test tube Muscle Shoals AlabamaTo begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for many Muscle Shoals AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs

Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected 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 school is relevant if you will be commuting from Muscle Shoals AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Muscle Shoals AL job market.

What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Muscle Shoals AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Muscle Shoals AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Muscle Shoals AL medical community.

Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Muscle Shoals AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.

Learn More About Muscle Shoals Phlebotomy Programs

Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?

Anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Muscle Shoals AL medical facilities, well this job may not be right 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 taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings 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 could be the right profession for you.

Pick the Right Muscle Shoals Phlebotomy Training

Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each college before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Muscle Shoals Alabama.


 

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