How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Theodore Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Theodore AL is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, a large number of students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision 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 reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Theodore AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Theodore AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing 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 collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, many Theodore AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted 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 can be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Theodore AL students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you choose 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 quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Theodore AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? 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. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits 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 take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Theodore AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Theodore AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see 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 Sufficient 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 classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Theodore AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Theodore AL health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Theodore AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, 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 practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Theodore AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings 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 patient and compassionate, this may be the right profession for you.
Choose the Right Theodore Phlebotomy School
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential 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 superior college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Theodore Alabama.