How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Classes near Madison AL
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician training near Madison AL is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In reality, most students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out 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 may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Madison AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Madison AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education along 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 exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Madison AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the program of studies 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 completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for some Madison AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Madison AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing 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 complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in 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 a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Madison AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy 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 colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with some Madison AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. 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 full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, contact 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 phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools 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 typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Madison AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Madison AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Madison 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. 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 in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Madison Alabama
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a number of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Madison AL.