How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Selma Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Selma AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, many students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online 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 a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Selma AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and varied, such as Selma AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw 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 collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Selma AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the main 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 phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for many Selma AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Selma AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each 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 making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Selma AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? 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 in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact some Selma AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, 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 considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Selma AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Selma AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Selma AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, 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 practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Selma AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Pick the Best Selma Phlebotomy School
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a number of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Selma Alabama.