How to Find the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Valley Alabama
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician school near Valley AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, most students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening 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 in fact work in Valley AL labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Valley AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered 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 expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, many Valley AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the course of study will be practical 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 in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Valley AL students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive 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 may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Courses
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Valley AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. 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 making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist 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 have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Valley AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Valley 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 complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At 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 clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Valley AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing offer 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 program has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Valley AL health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Valley AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify 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 completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Valley AL medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. 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 don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Pick the Best Valley Phlebotomy School
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a number of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ slightly across the country as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Valley Alabama.