How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Training Classes near Montgomery AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Montgomery AL is an important initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Montgomery AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Montgomery AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing 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 setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Montgomery AL employers look for 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 a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Montgomery AL students. As an added benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Montgomery AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills 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 School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Montgomery AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all 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 solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Montgomery AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Montgomery AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Montgomery AL medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Montgomery Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each college before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Montgomery AL.