How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Muscle Shoals Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Muscle Shoals AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, many students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Muscle Shoals AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Muscle Shoals AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy 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 provides 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 include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Muscle Shoals AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the main 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, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out 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 part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Muscle Shoals AL students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
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 decided on the kind 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 significant if you will be commuting from Muscle Shoals AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in 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 program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Muscle Shoals AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Muscle Shoals AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Muscle Shoals AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Muscle Shoals AL health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to verify that the final school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Muscle Shoals AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. 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 policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Muscle Shoals AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right job for you.
Choose the Best Muscle Shoals Phlebotomy Program
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a number of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Muscle Shoals Alabama.