How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Huntsville Alabama
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Huntsville AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most prospective students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to 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 evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening 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 Huntsville AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Huntsville AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, many Huntsville AL employers require certification prior to hiring 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Huntsville AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Huntsville AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements 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 practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Huntsville AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all 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 assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Huntsville AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 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 offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Huntsville AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Huntsville AL medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Huntsville AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Huntsville AL medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect job for you.
Pick the Right Huntsville Phlebotomist Program
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Huntsville Alabama.