How to Enroll in the Right One Near Bessemer Alabama
A critical first step you must take to enter the gratifying medical vocation of phlebotomy is to choose the right phlebotomy training near Bessemer AL. There are many training programs available to you and it may seem like an intimidating undertaking to investigate and compare each one. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. Quite often the two qualifications that initially are considered by student applicants are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. Online classes will be covered in greater detail a bit later. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Should You Become a Plebotomist?
First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. The basic answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Bessemer AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect job for you.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Bessemer AL employers require certification prior to employing 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Bessemer AL students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Training Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked 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 school is significant if you will be commuting from Bessemer AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Bessemer AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy 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 any schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Bessemer AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest 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 complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full 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 amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Bessemer AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering provide 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 college has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Bessemer AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bessemer AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, 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 procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Bessemer Phlebotomy Training Program
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Bessemer Alabama.