How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Wetumpka Alabama
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy training near Wetumpka AL is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, most students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Wetumpka AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Wetumpka AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in most states, a number of Wetumpka AL employers look for 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 a few 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 choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted 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-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for some Wetumpka AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Courses
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Wetumpka AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick 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 several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Wetumpka AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Wetumpka AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Wetumpka AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying 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 Wetumpka AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Wetumpka AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Wetumpka AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and 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 job for you.
Pick the Best Wetumpka Phlebotomist School
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Wetumpka Alabama.