How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Prattville Alabama
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Prattville AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most potential students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Prattville AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Prattville AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only 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 working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Prattville AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the key certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few 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.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Prattville AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen 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 college is relevant if you will be commuting from Prattville AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy 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. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Prattville AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Prattville AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with 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 clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Prattville AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most 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 medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prattville AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And 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 need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Prattville AL medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect job for you.
Choose the Right Prattville Phlebotomist Program
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a wide range of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ slightly across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate 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 phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Prattville Alabama.