How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Montgomery Alabama
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy school near Montgomery AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, many students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Montgomery AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Montgomery AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home 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 exclusively. 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 different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Montgomery AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying organizations 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Montgomery AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Courses
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Montgomery AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school 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 school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Montgomery AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Montgomery AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing 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 total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Montgomery AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college 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 as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Montgomery AL medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. 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 should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Montgomery AL medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice 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 many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.
Choose the Best Montgomery Phlebotomy Training
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Montgomery Alabama.