How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Madison AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist school near Madison AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In reality, most students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far 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 need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, 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 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 training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Madison AL labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Madison AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing 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 samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method 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 phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Madison AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Madison AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Madison AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected 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 patient and compassionate, this could be the right job for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate 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 important if you will be commuting from Madison AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that meets 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 Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Last, 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 Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all 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 ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Madison AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Madison AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Madison AL medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working 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. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Madison Alabama
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully research and compare each college before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Madison AL.