How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Russellville Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Russellville AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Russellville AL laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Russellville AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type 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 drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Russellville AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Russellville AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Courses
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might 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 relevant if you will be commuting from Russellville AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Russellville AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Russellville AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample 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 length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Russellville 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 assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Russellville AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Russellville AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Russellville AL medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, evenings 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 may be the perfect job for you.
Choose the Right Russellville Phlebotomist Course
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Russellville Alabama.