How to Select the Right Phlebotomist School near Sheffield Alabama
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician training near Sheffield AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Sheffield AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Sheffield AL hospitals, medical clinics, 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 phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually 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 finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Sheffield AL employers require 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
To begin with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out 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-practical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for many Sheffield AL students. As an added benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Sheffield AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking 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 each of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example 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. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Sheffield AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any 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 assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Sheffield AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Sheffield AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Sheffield AL health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Sheffield 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 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 due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Sheffield AL medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. 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 interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
Choose the Best Sheffield Phlebotomist Course
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each school prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Sheffield Alabama.