How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Madison AL
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician training near Madison AL is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. 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 choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Madison AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and varied, including Madison AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, 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 mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest 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 provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Madison AL employers require 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component 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. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for many Madison AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you select 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 superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Madison AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic 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 type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Madison AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. 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 practicing and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Madison AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. 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 internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact some Madison AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed 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 clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Madison AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Madison AL medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Madison AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Madison Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully research and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Madison AL.