How to Find the Best Phlebotomist School near Madison AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy training near Madison AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, many students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important 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 should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing 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 schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Madison AL laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Madison AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and offers a general education as well as 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 provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in most states, many Madison AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the principal 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, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for many Madison AL students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Madison AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right profession for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Madison AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All 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 arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Madison AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Madison AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Madison AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college 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 a substantial network of professional contacts within the Madison AL medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend 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. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Madison Alabama
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a number of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary slightly across the country as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Madison AL.