How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Semmes Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Semmes AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Semmes AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Semmes AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Semmes AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying organizations 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for some Semmes AL students. As an added benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college 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 quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen 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 school is significant if you will be commuting from Semmes AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Semmes AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Semmes AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most 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 Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Semmes AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Semmes AL medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Semmes AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm 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 find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Semmes AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work around nervous 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, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.
Pick the Best Semmes Phlebotomist Course
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Semmes Alabama.