How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Huntsville AL
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician training near Huntsville AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Huntsville AL laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, including Huntsville AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education along 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, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Huntsville AL employers require 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant 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. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Huntsville AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (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 dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Huntsville AL medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Huntsville AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Huntsville AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with several Huntsville AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with 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 phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Huntsville AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Huntsville AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Huntsville AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Huntsville Alabama
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Huntsville AL.