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How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Tuscaloosa Alabama

Tuscaloosa Alabama phlebotomist drawing blood from patient's armPicking the right phlebotomy technician training near Tuscaloosa AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.

Phlebotomy Tech Career Description

Tuscaloosa Alabama phlebotomist examining blood samplesA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Tuscaloosa AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?

The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Tuscaloosa AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification

Tuscaloosa Alabama phlebotomist testing a blood sampleThere are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest 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 incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, most Tuscaloosa AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomist Schools

sample of blood in test tube Tuscaloosa AlabamaFirst, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical option for some Tuscaloosa AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomist Courses

Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits 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 examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.

What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact some Tuscaloosa AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with 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 considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Tuscaloosa AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL medical community.

Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And 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 should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.

Learn More About Tuscaloosa Phlebotomist Training

Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?

Anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Tuscaloosa AL medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably 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 could be the right profession for you.

Choose the Right Tuscaloosa Phlebotomy Training

Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tuscaloosa Alabama.


 

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