Phlebotomist Training Schools
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Northport Alabama
Perhaps the most serious decision you must make to enter the fulfilling medical vocation of phlebotomy is to choose the best phlebotomy school near Northport AL. There are numerous training programs that are offered in your area and it might seem like an intimidating task to investigate and compare each one. Notwithstanding, to guarantee that you receive a top-notch education you must complete your due diligence before making your selection. Quite often the two requirements that first come to mind for prospective students are where the school is located and how much the tuition is. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. Online schools will be discussed in greater detail a bit later. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Finding out if the program is accredited or if the school has a job placement program should also be part of your due diligence process. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly 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 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 tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Northport AL laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, many Northport AL employers look for 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 California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient option for many Northport AL students. As an added benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as 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 comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Training Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Northport AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional 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 premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Northport AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all 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 assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with some Northport AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length 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 (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Northport AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying 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 Northport AL health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Northport AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Northport Phlebotomy Training Program
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Northport Alabama.