How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Montgomery AL
Picking the ideal phlebotomist training near Montgomery AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online 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 locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Montgomery AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Montgomery AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Montgomery AL employers require certification before employing technicians. Some 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part 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 completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Montgomery AL students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Montgomery AL medical facilities, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected 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. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, 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 obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, 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 School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Montgomery AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Montgomery AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Montgomery AL health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, 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 find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Montgomery Alabama
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each college before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Montgomery AL.