How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Smiths Station Alabama
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Smiths Station AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to assess and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. 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 ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Smiths Station AL labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Smiths Station AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Smiths Station AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary certifying agencies 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Smiths Station AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
What 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 chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Smiths Station AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing 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 practicing and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages 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 be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Smiths Station AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with a few Smiths Station AL clinics or hospitals that you may 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 total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact 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. 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 expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Smiths Station AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Smiths Station AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Smiths Station AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Smiths Station AL medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. 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 interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Pick the Best Smiths Station Phlebotomy Program
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a wide range of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Smiths Station Alabama.