How to Enroll in the Right One Near Albertville Alabama
Perhaps the most important decision you must make to enter the fulfilling healthcare vocation of phlebotomy is to select the best phlebotomy school near Albertville AL. There are many training options that are offered in your area and it can seem like a daunting undertaking to research and analyze each one. However, to ensure that you receive a quality education you must perform a detailed audit before making your decision. In fact, a large number of students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Whether you will commute to classes or participate online is another consideration as well. Online schools will be covered in greater detail a bit later. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Researching if the program is accredited or if the school has a job assistance program should also be part of your evaluation process. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Albertville AL laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, most Albertville AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To begin with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for some Albertville AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Certificate or Degree Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Albertville AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. 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 preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Albertville AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Albertville AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Albertville AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Albertville AL health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Albertville AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Albertville Phlebotomist Training Program
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomist 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 premium school. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Albertville Alabama.