How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Course near Madison AL
Selecting the right phlebotomy school near Madison AL is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal function, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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 in fact work in Madison AL laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Madison AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education as well as 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, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Madison AL employers look for certification before 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for many 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 minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you wish 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 in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with 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 Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional 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 has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Madison AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy 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 schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few Madison AL clinics or hospitals 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 find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, 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 reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Madison AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Madison AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only 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. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Madison Alabama
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Madison AL.