How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Course near Madison AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Madison AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, many potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing 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 furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover 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. While that is their main function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out 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 screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Madison AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Madison AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, a number of Madison AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the primary 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Madison AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality 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 choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important 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 program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need 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 practicing and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Madison AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references 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 as well. You can also talk to a few Madison AL hospitals or clinics that you may 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 grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing 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 provide no less than 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 offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Madison AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Madison AL medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Madison AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Madison Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Madison AL.