How to Choose the Best One Near Alabaster Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Alabaster AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. There are many training options that are offered in your area and it may seem like a daunting undertaking to research and compare each one. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. Quite often the two qualifications that first are considered by prospective students are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. Whether you will drive to classes or attend them online is an option you need to consider as well. Online classes will be discussed in greater detail a bit later. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Alabaster AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Alabaster AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the primary 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, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Alabaster AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you wish 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 Alabaster AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected 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 program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Alabaster AL job market.
What is the School'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 along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools 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 organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Alabaster AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length 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 (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Alabaster AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alabaster AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Alabaster Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alabaster Alabama.