How to Enroll in the Best One Near Huntsville Alabama
Perhaps the most important decision you must make to enter the fulfilling healthcare profession of phlebotomy is to select the best phlebotomy school near Huntsville AL. There are many training programs available to you and it can seem like an intimidating task to research and analyze each one. Notwithstanding, to ensure that you receive a first-rate education you must perform your due diligence before making your decision. In fact, most potential students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. So when assessing phlebotomist training programs, location and cost shouldn’t be the only parameters you are looking at. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing 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 classes.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Huntsville AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly using 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.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Huntsville AL employers require certification prior to employing 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 phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To begin with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Huntsville AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (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 disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Training Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Huntsville AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Huntsville AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact some Huntsville AL clinics or hospitals that you might 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 ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn 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 furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Huntsville AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Huntsville AL medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the final college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Huntsville AL, make certain they are available 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 have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Huntsville Phlebotomist Training Program
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ a bit across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Huntsville Alabama.