How to Select the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Montgomery AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy school near Montgomery AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local 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 checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should 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 evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Montgomery AL laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Montgomery AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, a number of Montgomery AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the principal 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the course of study 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 in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Montgomery AL students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Montgomery AL medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected 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 campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Montgomery AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose 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 program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Montgomery AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with some Montgomery AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length 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 practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Montgomery AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire 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 jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Montgomery AL medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Montgomery AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical 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 due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Montgomery Alabama
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary slightly across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Montgomery AL.