How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Classes near Huntsville AL
Picking the ideal phlebotomy school near Huntsville AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Huntsville AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Huntsville AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, most Huntsville AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some 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, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Huntsville AL students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). 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 study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Huntsville AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may 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 school is relevant if you will be commuting from Huntsville AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed 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 readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Huntsville AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Huntsville AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Huntsville AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Huntsville AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working 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. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Huntsville Alabama
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may vary slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Huntsville AL.