How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Huntsville AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near Huntsville AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Huntsville AL labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Huntsville AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available 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 furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, many Huntsville AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
First, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for some Huntsville AL students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist 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 receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Huntsville AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Huntsville AL job market.
What is the School'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 quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact some Huntsville AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 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 furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Huntsville AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Huntsville AL health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Huntsville AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Huntsville Alabama
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Huntsville AL.