How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy School near Prichard Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomist training near Prichard AL is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, most potential students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out 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 an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Prichard AL laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Prichard AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based 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 older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Prichard AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the course of study 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 completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for many Prichard AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Courses
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type 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 Prichard AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of 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 qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Prichard AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start 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 rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Prichard AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Prichard AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Prichard AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Prichard AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Prichard AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Pick the Best Prichard Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Prichard Alabama.