Phlebotomist Training Schools
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Decatur Alabama
Perhaps the most important decision you must make to enter the gratifying medical vocation of phlebotomy is to select the right phlebotomy school near Decatur AL. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. Quite often the two requirements that first come to mind for prospective students are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. Whether you will commute to classes or participate online is another consideration as well. Online classes will be covered in more detail a bit later. So when evaluating phlebotomy training programs, location and cost must not be the sole parameters you are looking at. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Decatur AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Decatur AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the main 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 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 important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for some Decatur AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you want 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 Decatur AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded 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 aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, 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 not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Decatur AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Decatur AL clinics or hospitals that you may 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 ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Decatur AL medical community. And they look good 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 programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the final school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Decatur AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Decatur Phlebotomist Training Program
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary slightly across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Decatur Alabama.