How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist School near Northport Alabama
Picking the ideal phlebotomist school near Northport AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, many students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area 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 finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish 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 address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Northport AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Northport AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home 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 exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Northport 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the course of study will be practical 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 in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for many Northport AL students. As an added benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Courses
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 chosen 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 campus is important if you will be commuting from Northport AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing 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 have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Northport AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Northport AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Northport AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Northport AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Northport AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. 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 find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?
Anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Northport 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 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, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Pick the Right Northport Phlebotomist Course
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Northport Alabama.