Phlebotomist Training Programs
How to Find the Best One Near Muscle Shoals Alabama
An important first step you must take to enter the rewarding healthcare vocation of phlebotomy is to select the best phlebotomy school near Muscle Shoals AL. There are a number of training options available to you and it may seem like a daunting task to research and analyze each one. Notwithstanding, to guarantee that you will get a quality education you must perform your due diligence prior to making your decision. In reality, most potential students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. And if you will drive to classes or attend them online is another consideration as well. Online classes will be covered in more detail a bit later. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. 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 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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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Muscle Shoals AL labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in most states, many Muscle Shoals AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some 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 phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out 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-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it may be a more practical option for many Muscle Shoals AL students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Certificate or Degree Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Muscle Shoals AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Muscle Shoals AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, 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 schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Muscle Shoals AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide 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 offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Muscle Shoals AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Muscle Shoals AL medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to verify that the final school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Muscle Shoals AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Muscle Shoals Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Muscle Shoals Alabama.