How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist School near Tarrant Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomist training near Tarrant AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, most potential students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby 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 cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Tarrant AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Tarrant AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 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 probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Tarrant AL employers look for certification before 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Tarrant AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Tarrant AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams 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 national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Tarrant AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are looking at. 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 research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Tarrant AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing 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 furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Tarrant AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tarrant AL health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tarrant AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure 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 completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Tarrant AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect job for you.
Choose the Best Tarrant Phlebotomy Training
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a number of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each school before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tarrant Alabama.