How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Montgomery AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Montgomery AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, most prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online 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 comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary function, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point 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 may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Montgomery AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Montgomery AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting 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, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in most states, most Montgomery AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the key 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for many Montgomery AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, 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 online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several 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 take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Montgomery AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact several Montgomery AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 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 furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Montgomery AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support 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 jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Montgomery AL medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Montgomery Alabama
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Montgomery AL.