How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Huntsville AL
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Huntsville AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, many potential students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening 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 Huntsville AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Huntsville AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types 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 general education together 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 specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Huntsville AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying agencies 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Huntsville AL students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means 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.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Huntsville AL medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect job for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Huntsville AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Huntsville AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is little 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 out the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Huntsville 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 contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Huntsville AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Huntsville AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Huntsville AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical 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 due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Huntsville Alabama
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each school prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Huntsville AL.