How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Course near Montgomery AL
Choosing the right phlebotomy training near Montgomery AL is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, most potential students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Montgomery AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Montgomery AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education together with 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 specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Montgomery AL employers require certification before employing technicians. A few 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
First, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed 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-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Montgomery AL students. As an added benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Montgomery AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting 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 should ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential 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 phlebotomy 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 requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Montgomery AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Montgomery AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Montgomery AL medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. 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 find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Montgomery Alabama
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary a bit across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Montgomery AL.