How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Thomasville Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomy technician school near Thomasville AL is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to 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 afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers 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 Thomasville AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Thomasville AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from elderly 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 variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Thomasville AL employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the key 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Thomasville AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Thomasville AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing 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 should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Thomasville AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with a few Thomasville AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Thomasville AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Thomasville AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Thomasville AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Thomasville AL medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists often work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, nights 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 right profession for you.
Choose the Best Thomasville Phlebotomy Course
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential 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 contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Thomasville Alabama.