How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Course near Spanish Fort Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy school near Spanish Fort AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby 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 comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Spanish Fort AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Spanish Fort AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Spanish Fort AL employers require 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 some 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 choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
First, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the curriculum 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 prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient option for many Spanish Fort AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you select 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 method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Spanish Fort AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized 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 program aside from 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. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Spanish Fort AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous 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 essential to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact some Spanish Fort AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough 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 classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Spanish Fort AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Spanish Fort AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Spanish Fort AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Spanish Fort AL medical facilities, well this job may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Choose the Best Spanish Fort Phlebotomy Training
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of academic institutes, 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 may vary a bit across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully research and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Spanish Fort Alabama.