How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Training Classes near Huntsville AL
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Huntsville AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should 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 afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab 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 in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Huntsville AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, 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 only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Huntsville AL employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the primary certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical option for some Huntsville AL students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. 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. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with 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 School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school 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 phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with some Huntsville AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. 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 full compliance.
Is Enough 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Huntsville AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Huntsville AL medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the final school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work 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. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Huntsville Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Huntsville AL.