How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Training Course near Huntsville AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Huntsville AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out 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 also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Huntsville AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Huntsville AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Huntsville AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for many Huntsville AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected 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 campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Huntsville AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Huntsville AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few Huntsville AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Huntsville AL 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 programs 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 jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Huntsville AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Huntsville AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Huntsville Alabama
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Huntsville AL.