How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Huntsville AL
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician school near Huntsville AL is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Huntsville AL laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Huntsville AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and furnishes 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 incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Huntsville AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part 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. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Huntsville AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive 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 attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now 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 chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Huntsville AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick 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 superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Huntsville AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. 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 research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with some Huntsville AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Huntsville AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Huntsville AL medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Huntsville AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain 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 as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Huntsville Alabama
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary 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 carefully evaluate and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Huntsville AL.