How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Madison AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Madison AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, most prospective students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary function, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually 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 duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Madison AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, a number of Madison AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies 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. But since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Madison AL students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). 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 earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Madison AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required 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 job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Madison AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select 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 aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, 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 Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Madison AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Madison AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Madison AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to attend 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, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Madison Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a number of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Madison AL.