How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Spanish Fort Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near Spanish Fort AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In reality, most prospective students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Spanish Fort AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Spanish Fort AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Spanish Fort AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick 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.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial 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 completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Spanish Fort AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic idea 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 intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Spanish Fort AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often 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 Spanish Fort AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all schools you are looking at. 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 rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact several Spanish Fort AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Spanish Fort AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing 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 school has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Spanish Fort AL medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to make sure that the final school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Spanish Fort AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. 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 ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Spanish Fort AL medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and 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 job for you.
Choose the Right Spanish Fort Phlebotomist Program
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Spanish Fort Alabama.