How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Montgomery AL
Picking the right phlebotomy training near Montgomery AL is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many potential students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Montgomery AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Montgomery AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working 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 environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Montgomery AL employers require certification prior to hiring 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 several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior 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 possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Montgomery AL students. As an added benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important 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 procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Montgomery AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate 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 screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with some Montgomery AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. 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 practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Montgomery AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Montgomery AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Montgomery Alabama
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a variety of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Montgomery AL.