How to Pick the Best One Near Athens Alabama
Perhaps the most serious decision you must make to enter the fulfilling medical profession of phlebotomy is to choose the right phlebotomy training near Athens AL. There are a number of training options that are offered in your area and it can seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare each one. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, most prospective students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Whether you will drive to classes or participate online is another consideration as well. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Finding out if the program is accredited or if the school has a job assistance program should also be included in your evaluation process. Toward that end, we will supply 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 afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Athens AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many Athens AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the key certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist 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.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Athens AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Athens AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Athens AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Athens AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Athens AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Athens AL health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Athens AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. 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 find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Athens Phlebotomy Training
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each college before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Athens Alabama.