How to Select the Best Phlebotomy School near Montgomery AL
Selecting the right phlebotomist school near Montgomery AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task 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 ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, most students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. 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 ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Montgomery AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, such as Montgomery AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Montgomery AL employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the principal certifying organizations 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Montgomery AL students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy 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 obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen 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 college is significant if you will be commuting from Montgomery AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Montgomery AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact some Montgomery AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 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 sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Montgomery AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Montgomery AL health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to verify that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, 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 ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Montgomery Alabama
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a wide range of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. 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 college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Montgomery AL.