How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Robertsdale Alabama
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist school near Robertsdale AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, most students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision 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 evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. 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 in fact work in Robertsdale AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Robertsdale AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from senior 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 setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Robertsdale AL employers require certification prior to employing 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 a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist 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 Colleges
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Robertsdale AL students. As an added benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Robertsdale AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets 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 phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Robertsdale AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Robertsdale AL hospitals or clinics that you may 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 ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, 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 provide 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 adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Robertsdale AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Robertsdale AL health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Robertsdale AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Robertsdale 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 a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably 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 interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Choose the Right Robertsdale Phlebotomist Course
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a number of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Robertsdale Alabama.