How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Winfield Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomy technician school near Winfield AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest 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 supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal 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 Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Winfield AL labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Winfield AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Winfield AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
To begin with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many 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 might be a more practical option for many Winfield AL students. As an added benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Winfield AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with 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 Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select 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 a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Winfield AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Winfield AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Winfield AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Winfield AL medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to verify 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 attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Winfield AL, make certain they are offered 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 sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Winfield AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right profession for you.
Choose the Right Winfield Phlebotomist School
Making sure that you select the most suitable 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. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a number of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each school before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Winfield Alabama.