How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Russellville Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Russellville AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must 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 an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Russellville AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Russellville AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can 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 practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as 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 exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Russellville AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain 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. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for many Russellville AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen 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 Russellville AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are 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 Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Russellville AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many 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 imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Russellville AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, 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 reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Russellville AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Russellville AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Russellville AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
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 Russellville AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, 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 blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Pick the Right Russellville Phlebotomy Training
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Russellville Alabama.