How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Piedmont Alabama
Selecting the right phlebotomist training near Piedmont AL is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, most potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor 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's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Piedmont AL laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Piedmont AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and offers a general education along with 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 exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Piedmont AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal certifying organizations 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Piedmont AL students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Piedmont AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Piedmont AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many 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 essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin 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 reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with several Piedmont AL hospitals or clinics that you might 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 full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. 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 furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Piedmont AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority 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 Piedmont AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Piedmont AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Piedmont AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect job for you.
Choose the Right Piedmont Phlebotomy Course
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Piedmont Alabama.