Phlebotomist Training Schools
How to Pick the Best One Near Birmingham Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Birmingham AL is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Notwithstanding, to ensure that you will get a first-rate education you must complete a detailed audit prior to making your selection. In fact, a large number of students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Whether you will drive to classes or attend them online is an option you need to consider as well. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. So when comparing phlebotomy training programs, location and cost must not be the sole parameters you are looking at. Finding out if the program is accredited or if the school has a job assistance program should also be included in your due diligence process. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Birmingham AL labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Birmingham AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Birmingham AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Certificate or Degree Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Birmingham AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require 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 phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Birmingham AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important 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 graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Birmingham AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Birmingham AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Birmingham AL health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to verify that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Birmingham AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Birmingham Phlebotomy Training Program
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program 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 critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Birmingham Alabama.