Choosing a Phlebotomy School near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Tuscaloosa AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it’s important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, many students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We’ll review more about online schools later in this article. What’s important to keep in mind is that there is far more to researching phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are researching to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let’s address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient’s information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Tuscaloosa AL area laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren’t enough duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Tuscaloosa AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at Tuscaloosa AL junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Tuscaloosa 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it’s imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To start with, let’s dispel one potential misconception. You can’t get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical option for many Tuscaloosa AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
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 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 important as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the Tuscaloosa AL programs you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it’s very important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.
What is the School’s Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it’s essential to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Tuscaloosa AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the Tuscaloosa AL training program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with Tuscaloosa AL health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Tuscaloosa healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it’s an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it’s critical to verify that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, 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 practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Considering Phlebotomy Training near Tuscaloosa AL?
Tuscaloosa (/tʌskəˈluːsə/ TUS-kə-LOO-sə) is a city in and the seat of Tuscaloosa County in west central Alabama (in the southeastern United States). Located on the Black Warrior River at the Atlantic Seaboard fall line of the Piedmont, it is the fifth-largest city in Alabama, with an estimated population of 100,287 in 2017.
Incorporated as a town on December 13, 1819, it was named after Tuskaloosa, the chief of a band of Muskogean-speaking people. They battled and were defeated by forces of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1540 in the Battle of Mabila, thought to have been located in what is now central Alabama. Tuscaloosa served as Alabama's capital city from 1826 to 1846.
Tuscaloosa is the regional center of industry, commerce, healthcare, and education for the area of west-central Alabama known as West Alabama. It is the principal city of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Tuscaloosa, Hale and Pickens counties. In 2013 its estimated metro population was 235,628. Tuscaloosa is also the home of The University of Alabama, Stillman College and Shelton State Community College. While the city attracted international attention when Mercedes-Benz announced it would build its first automotive assembly plant in North America in Tuscaloosa County, the University of Alabama remains the dominant economic and cultural engine in the city.
Tuscaloosa has been traditionally known as the "Druid City" because of the numerous water oaks planted in its downtown streets since the 1840s. The city has become known nationally for the sports successes of the University of Alabama, particularly in football. City leaders adopted the moniker "The City of Champions" after the Alabama Crimson Tide football team won the BCS National Championship in their 2009, 2011, and again in their 2012 seasons. The Tide won the College Football Playoff in the 2015 season and 2017 season.
Choose the Ideal Phlebotomist School near Tuscaloosa AL
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tuscaloosa AL.
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