How to Pick the Right One Near Athens Alabama
An important first step one must take to enter the gratifying medical profession of phlebotomy is to choose the best phlebotomy training near Athens AL. There are numerous training programs available to you and it can seem like an intimidating task to research and compare each one. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. Quite often the two qualifications that initially come to mind for student applicants are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. So when comparing phlebotomist training programs, cost and location shouldn’t be the only criteria you are looking at. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. The short definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Athens AL medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and provides 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, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Athens AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few 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 several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Athens AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Athens AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. 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 preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Athens AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact several Athens AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest 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 ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, check with 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 phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Athens AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college 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 along with a large network of professional contacts within the Athens AL health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the final school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Athens AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Athens Phlebotomist Training
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each school before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Athens Alabama.