How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy School near Talladega Alabama
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician training near Talladega AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, many potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Talladega AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Talladega AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route 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 on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Talladega AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the principal 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous 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 some Talladega AL students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Talladega AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Talladega AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal 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 check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Talladega AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final 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 Adequate Training Included? To begin with, contact 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 phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Talladega AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Talladega AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Talladega AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Talladega AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably 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 right job for you.
Pick the Right Talladega Phlebotomy Program
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently screen and compare each college before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Talladega Alabama.