How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Robertsdale Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Robertsdale AL is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In reality, many students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Robertsdale AL laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Robertsdale AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Robertsdale AL employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the principal 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Robertsdale AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Robertsdale AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online 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 making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws 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 hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Robertsdale AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Robertsdale AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing 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 looking at 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 indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Robertsdale AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Robertsdale AL health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Robertsdale AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Robertsdale AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Pick the Right Robertsdale Phlebotomist Course
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Robertsdale Alabama.