How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Huntsville AL
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Huntsville AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection 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 reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Huntsville AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Huntsville AL medical clinics, hospitals, 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 phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Huntsville AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the principal 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 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 imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion 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 completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Huntsville AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Huntsville AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. 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 practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future 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 phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges 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 online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Huntsville AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. 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 lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Huntsville AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering 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 jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Huntsville AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to verify that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Huntsville AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure 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 fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Huntsville Alabama
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is a critical 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 quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each program prior to making your final decision. 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 program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Huntsville AL.