How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Piedmont Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist training near Piedmont AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, many students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area 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 finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Piedmont AL labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Piedmont AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Piedmont 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Piedmont AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Courses
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind 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 relevant if you will be commuting from Piedmont AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Piedmont AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Piedmont AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested 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 find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, contact 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 phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Piedmont AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Piedmont AL health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Piedmont AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Piedmont AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Choose the Right Piedmont Phlebotomist School
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Piedmont Alabama.