How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy School near Pike Road Alabama
Picking the ideal phlebotomist school near Pike Road AL is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, a large number of students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online 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 much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Pike Road AL laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Pike Road AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, most Pike Road AL employers require 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Pike Road AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Pike Road AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. 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. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of 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 earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Pike Road AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Pike Road AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Pike Road AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Pike Road AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Pike Road AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even 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 procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Pike Road AL medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.
Choose the Right Pike Road Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Pike Road Alabama.