How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Huntsville AL
Selecting the right phlebotomy training near Huntsville AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In fact, a large number of students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember 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 also. 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 best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Huntsville AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Huntsville AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, many Huntsville AL employers look for certification prior to employing 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, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the course of study 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 in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for some Huntsville AL students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Huntsville AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need 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 all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college 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 little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several Huntsville AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Huntsville AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, 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 health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to 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 part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Huntsville Alabama
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Huntsville AL.