How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Madison AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician training near Madison AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, most prospective students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors 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 supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Madison AL labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and varied, including Madison AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education together 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 provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Madison AL employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the primary 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, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Madison AL students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Madison AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to 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 phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Madison AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with 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 assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Madison AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide 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 colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Madison AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Madison AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to verify that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Madison AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Madison Alabama
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a variety of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each program before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Madison AL.