How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist School near Tuscumbia Alabama
Picking the ideal phlebotomy training near Tuscumbia AL is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In reality, most prospective students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much 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 should be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide 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 then resume our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Tuscumbia AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Tuscumbia AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education together with 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 incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Tuscumbia AL employers look for certification before employing 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Tuscumbia AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in 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 method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Courses
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Tuscumbia AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have 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 practicing and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Tuscumbia AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal 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 check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Tuscumbia AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, 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 provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Tuscumbia AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tuscumbia AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the final school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Tuscumbia AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Tuscumbia AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right profession for you.
Pick the Best Tuscumbia Phlebotomy Training
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each program before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tuscumbia Alabama.