How to Choose the Right One Near Anniston Alabama
Selecting the right phlebotomy school near Anniston AL is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. There are a number of training programs available to you and it may seem like an intimidating undertaking to investigate and compare each one. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. More often than not the two requirements that initially come to mind for prospective students are where the school is located and how much the tuition is. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. So when assessing phlebotomy training courses, cost and location shouldn’t be the sole criteria you are looking at. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. 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 choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Anniston AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, many Anniston AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some 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 several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Anniston AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Anniston AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Anniston AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Anniston AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, check with 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 considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Anniston AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Anniston AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Anniston AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Anniston Phlebotomist Training Program
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding 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 certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each program before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anniston Alabama.