How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy School
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician training near Birmingham AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it’s necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We’ll talk more about online schools later in this article. What’s important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let’s cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient’s information. Next, paperwork must be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Birmingham AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren’t enough responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Birmingham AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely 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 blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor’s Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Birmingham AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the primary 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 phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it’s important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let’s resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can’t obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Birmingham AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it’s time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Birmingham AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it’s very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior 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 previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Birmingham AL job market.
What is the College’s Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it’s imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Birmingham AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As 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 may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Birmingham AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it’s an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Birmingham AL health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it’s important to make sure that the final program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Birmingham AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Attending Phlebotomy Training near Birmingham Alabama?
If you have decided to enroll in a Phlebotomy School in the Birmingham AL area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your future school campus.
Birmingham (/ˈbɜːrmɪŋhæm/ BUR-ming-ham) is a city in the north central region of the U.S. state of Alabama. With an estimated 2018 population of 209,880, it is the most populous city in Alabama. Birmingham is the seat of Jefferson County, Alabama's most populous and fifth largest county. As of 2018, the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 1,151,801, making it the most populous in Alabama and 49th-most populous in the United States. Birmingham serves as an important regional hub and is associated with the Deep South, Piedmont, and Appalachian regions of the nation.
Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, through the merger of three farm towns, most notably Elyton. The new city was named for Birmingham, England, the UK's second largest city and, at the time, a major industrial center. The Alabama city annexed smaller neighbors and developed as an industrial center, based on mining, the new iron and steel industry, and rail transport. Most of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry. The city was developed as a place where cheap, non-unionized immigrant labor (primarily Irish and Italian), along with African-American labor from rural Alabama, could work in the city's steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over unionized industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast.:14
From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the southern United States. Its rapid growth from 1881 through 1920 earned it the nicknames "The Magic City" and "The Pittsburgh of the South". Its major industries were iron and steel production. Major components of the railroad industry, rails and railroad cars, were manufactured in Birmingham. Since the 1860s, the two primary hubs of railroading in the "Deep South" have been Birmingham and Atlanta. The economy diversified in the latter half of the 20th century. Banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have become major economic activities. Birmingham ranks as one of the largest banking centers in the U.S. Also, it is among the most important business centers in the Southeast.
Find the Ideal Phlebotomist Course near Birmingham AL
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each college prior to making your final selection. You originally came to this website due to an interest in Phlebotomy Training Online. However, by asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Birmingham AL.
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