How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Russellville Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy school near Russellville AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Russellville AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Russellville AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Russellville AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the main certifying organizations 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 phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Russellville AL students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (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 disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy 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 may have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Russellville AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Russellville AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools 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 internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few Russellville AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Russellville AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate 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 along with a large network of professional contacts within the Russellville AL health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Russellville AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?
Anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Russellville AL medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings 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 compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.
Choose the Right Russellville Phlebotomist Course
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ a bit across the country as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Russellville Alabama.