How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Course near Montgomery AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Montgomery AL is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of students start the process by looking at 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 local campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job 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 tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly completed in order 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Montgomery AL laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Montgomery AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Montgomery AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the primary 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Montgomery AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Montgomery AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Montgomery AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Montgomery AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested 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 complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out 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 furnish no less than 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 expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Montgomery AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot 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 most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Montgomery AL health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings 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 as well. Even if you have decided to study 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 in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Montgomery Alabama
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each school before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Montgomery AL.