How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist School near Madison AL
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Madison AL is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit 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 finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Madison AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Madison AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Madison AL employers require certification before hiring 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy 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. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Madison AL students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality 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 right choice for you.
Questions 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 wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Madison AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, 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 School's Ranking? In a number of 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 investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start 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 organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Madison AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see 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 filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Madison AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Madison AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Madison AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical 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 due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Madison Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Madison AL.