How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Course near Huntsville AL
Picking the right phlebotomy technician training near Huntsville AL is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, most prospective students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing 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 classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Huntsville AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Huntsville AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked 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 collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four 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, a number of Huntsville AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the key 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed 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 may be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Huntsville AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Huntsville AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, 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. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Huntsville AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are looking at. 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 screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Huntsville AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Huntsville AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Huntsville AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Huntsville AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And 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 should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Huntsville Alabama
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each program before making your ultimate 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 phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Huntsville AL.