How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Piedmont Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Piedmont AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need 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 reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. 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. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Piedmont AL labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Piedmont AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Piedmont AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the key certifying agencies 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Piedmont AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Piedmont AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, 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 prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Piedmont AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Piedmont AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see 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 filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, check with the Alabama 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 reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Piedmont AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Piedmont AL health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to verify that the final school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you can only attend 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, 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 ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Piedmont AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right job for you.
Choose the Right Piedmont Phlebotomist Program
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own mandates 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 ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Piedmont Alabama.