How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Huntsville AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Huntsville AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, many prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. 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. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Huntsville AL laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, including Huntsville AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many Huntsville AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the primary certifying organizations 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 prior to practicing 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 supplies a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the program of studies 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 in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some Huntsville AL students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type 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 Huntsville AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Huntsville AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. 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 rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Huntsville AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Huntsville AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Huntsville AL medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Huntsville AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Huntsville Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a variety of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Huntsville AL.