How to Select the Right Phlebotomist School near Madison AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist training near Madison AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into 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 you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Madison AL laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Madison AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for many Madison AL students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Madison AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online 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 concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Madison AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous 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 imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also 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 closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of 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 length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Madison AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Madison AL health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the final school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending 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. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure 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 fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Madison Alabama
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Madison AL.