How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Montgomery AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Montgomery AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, many prospective students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another 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 schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Montgomery AL labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Montgomery AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Montgomery AL employers require 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out 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. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Montgomery AL students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist 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 dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Montgomery AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance 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 earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Montgomery AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start 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 as well. You can even check with several Montgomery AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of 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 length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Montgomery AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Montgomery AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make certain 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 attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Montgomery Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have discussed 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 number of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Montgomery AL.