How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Montgomery AL
Picking the right phlebotomy technician training near Montgomery AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, most prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind 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 important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. 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 select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Montgomery AL labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Montgomery AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, most Montgomery AL employers look for certification prior to 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the program of studies 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 completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for many Montgomery AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Montgomery AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with 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 phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, 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 sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Montgomery AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. 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 screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Montgomery AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. 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 clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Montgomery AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Montgomery AL health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Montgomery AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And 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 due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Montgomery Alabama
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a wide range of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Montgomery AL.