How to Select the Best Phlebotomy School near Madison AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy training near Madison AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In reality, many prospective students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot 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 decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating 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 continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Madison AL laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Madison AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, most Madison AL employers look for certification before employing 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, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical option for some Madison AL students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Madison AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Madison AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with a few Madison AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. 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 total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length 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 (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Madison AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Madison AL medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Madison AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study 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 in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Madison Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Madison AL.