How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Theodore Alabama
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician school near Theodore AL is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In fact, most students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember 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 important considerations and should be part of your selection process also. 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 choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately 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 in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Theodore AL labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Theodore AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing 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 collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, most Theodore AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the principal certifying organizations 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 phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Theodore AL students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type 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 Theodore AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam 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 colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Theodore AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. 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 internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact some Theodore AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest 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 ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Theodore AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Theodore AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Theodore AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Theodore AL medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists often work around anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, 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 helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Pick the Right Theodore Phlebotomist Course
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Theodore Alabama.