How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Montgomery AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy training near Montgomery AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review 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 finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Montgomery AL laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Montgomery AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Montgomery AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component 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. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical option for many Montgomery AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Montgomery AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. 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 preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, 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 premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Montgomery AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with 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 graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Montgomery AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Montgomery AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Montgomery AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Montgomery Alabama
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a number of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options 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 Montgomery AL.