How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Princeton Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Princeton AL is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Princeton AL labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Princeton AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Princeton AL employers look for certification prior to hiring 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Princeton AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Princeton AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Princeton AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Princeton AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact 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 Provided? First, contact 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Princeton AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing offer 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 college has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Princeton AL health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Princeton AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Princeton AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, 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 blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Choose the Right Princeton Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Princeton Alabama.