How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy School near Montgomery AL
Choosing the right phlebotomy training near Montgomery AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit 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 locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should 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 reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Montgomery AL labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly under 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 do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Montgomery AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind 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 working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Montgomery AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the main 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, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good 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. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Montgomery AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Montgomery AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies 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 recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Montgomery AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact some Montgomery AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Montgomery AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Montgomery AL medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Montgomery Alabama
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can differ somewhat across the country 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 program prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Montgomery AL.