How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Classes near Semmes Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist training near Semmes AL is an important first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In fact, many students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should 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 evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Semmes AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Semmes AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Semmes AL employers look for certification prior to hiring 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 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 essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Semmes AL students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Courses
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Semmes AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. 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 a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, 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 superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Semmes AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Semmes AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, contact 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Semmes AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing offer 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 program has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Semmes AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Semmes AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Semmes AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected 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 perfect profession for you.
Pick the Right Semmes Phlebotomy Program
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Semmes Alabama.