How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Huntsville AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy training near Huntsville AL is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area 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 variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed 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 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 actually work in Huntsville AL labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Huntsville AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting 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 practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate 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 fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Huntsville AL employers require certification prior to 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Huntsville AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). 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 study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be OK around 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 tend to work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Huntsville AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All 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 arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Huntsville AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact several Huntsville AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out 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 submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Huntsville AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Huntsville AL medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to verify that the final college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Huntsville AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case 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 enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Huntsville AL.