How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Prattville Alabama
Picking the ideal phlebotomist school near Prattville AL is an important first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes 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 factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Prattville AL labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Prattville AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. 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 usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Prattville AL employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary certifying agencies 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for some Prattville AL students. As an added benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might 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 school is significant if you will be commuting from Prattville AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Prattville AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Prattville AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Prattville AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Prattville AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prattville AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Prattville AL medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Choose the Best Prattville Phlebotomy School
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a variety of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Prattville Alabama.