How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Sheffield Alabama
Picking the ideal phlebotomy school near Sheffield AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, many students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk 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 significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should 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 address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Sheffield AL labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Sheffield AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, many Sheffield AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the primary 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical 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 in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for some Sheffield AL students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Courses
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Sheffield AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Sheffield AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Sheffield AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Sheffield AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire 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 the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Sheffield AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Sheffield AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Sheffield AL medical facilities, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may 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 patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Pick the Right Sheffield Phlebotomy Course
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have covered 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 institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options can differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Sheffield Alabama.