How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Montgomery AL
Picking the ideal phlebotomist training near Montgomery AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, most students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Montgomery AL laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and varied, such as Montgomery AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Montgomery AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the main 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, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies 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 possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Montgomery AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). 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 might be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Montgomery AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Montgomery AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Montgomery AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As 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 may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Montgomery AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning 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 Montgomery AL medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Montgomery Alabama
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Montgomery AL.