How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Montgomery AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy school near Montgomery AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Montgomery AL laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Montgomery AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, most Montgomery AL employers require certification before 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical option for many Montgomery AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you intend 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 in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification 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 practicing and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Montgomery AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, 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 considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Montgomery AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Montgomery AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Montgomery AL health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Montgomery Alabama
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Montgomery AL.