How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Southside Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Southside AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Southside AL laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Southside AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Southside AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like 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 provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Southside AL students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Courses
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Southside AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several 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. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded 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 program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Southside AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with some Southside AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy 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 lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Southside AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Southside AL medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Southside AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend 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 have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Southside AL medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, 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 interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Choose the Best Southside Phlebotomy Program
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. 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 school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Southside Alabama.