How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Millbrook Alabama
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy training near Millbrook AL is an important initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, most prospective students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Millbrook AL laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Millbrook AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in most states, most Millbrook AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient option for many Millbrook AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Millbrook AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Millbrook AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. 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 online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Millbrook AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Millbrook AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Millbrook AL medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Millbrook AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Millbrook AL medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Choose the Right Millbrook Phlebotomy School
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a number of educational institutions, such as 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 requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Millbrook Alabama.