How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Madison AL
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Madison AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review 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 variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time 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 can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Madison AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Madison AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, most Madison AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the main certifying agencies 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 phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Madison AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium 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 best choice for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist 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 OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Madison AL medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Madison AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist 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 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 be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Madison AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Madison AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Madison AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Madison AL medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Madison AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near Madison Alabama
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Madison AL.