How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Theodore Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Theodore AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, most prospective students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply 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 prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Theodore AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Theodore AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two 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 general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, most Theodore AL employers look for certification prior to hiring 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
First, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical option for some Theodore AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Courses
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen 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 college is important if you will be commuting from Theodore AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized 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 school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, 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 frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Theodore AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. 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 screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Theodore AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomy 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 below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Theodore AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Theodore AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Theodore AL, make certain they are available 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 study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Theodore AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, 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 helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
Pick the Best Theodore Phlebotomist Course
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Theodore Alabama.