How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Northport Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Northport AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In fact, a large number of students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to 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 resume our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Northport AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Northport AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood 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 mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Northport AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be clinical 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 prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Northport AL students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Northport AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical component 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 some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Northport AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. 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 internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Northport AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? 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 looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Northport AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Northport AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Northport AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, 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 procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Northport AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. 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 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 perfect job for you.
Pick the Right Northport Phlebotomy Program
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Northport Alabama.