How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Huntsville AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist training near Huntsville AL is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly 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 laboratory 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Huntsville AL laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Huntsville AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Huntsville AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the primary 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Huntsville AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Huntsville AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists often work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
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 might have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Huntsville AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program 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 a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality 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 previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, 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 Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with some Huntsville AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Huntsville AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Huntsville AL medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Huntsville AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Huntsville Alabama
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each school before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Huntsville AL.