How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Montgomery AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Montgomery AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, 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 classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Montgomery AL labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Montgomery AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type 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 collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. 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 different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Montgomery AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient option for many Montgomery AL students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior 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 best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school 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 a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, 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 amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Montgomery AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Montgomery AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. 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 total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Montgomery AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Montgomery AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Montgomery Alabama
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Montgomery AL.