How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist School near Trussville Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Trussville AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online 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 far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will supply 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 discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly 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 an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Trussville AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Trussville AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and offers a general education as well as 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, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, most Trussville AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Trussville AL students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Trussville AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior 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 agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Trussville AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Trussville AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be working 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 considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Trussville AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Trussville AL health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to verify that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Trussville 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 as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Trussville AL medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample 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 blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right job for you.
Choose the Right Trussville Phlebotomist Training
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Trussville Alabama.