How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy School near Saraland Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Saraland AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, many prospective students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may look into 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 remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must 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 information. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Saraland AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, including Saraland AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education along with 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 on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available 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. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Saraland AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be clinical 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 in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for many Saraland AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive 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 degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you intend 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 Saraland AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. 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 a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected 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 school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered 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. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Saraland AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Saraland AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Saraland AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Saraland AL medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Saraland AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Saraland AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right profession for you.
Pick the Best Saraland Phlebotomy Course
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Saraland Alabama.