How to Choose the Best One Near Bessemer Alabama
An important first step one must take to enter the gratifying medical vocation of phlebotomy is to select the best phlebotomy school near Bessemer AL. There are numerous training options that are offered in your area and it may seem like an intimidating undertaking to research and compare each one. However, to guarantee that you will get a first-rate education you must complete your due diligence before making your decision. In fact, most students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. Online classes will be covered in more detail a bit later. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. 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 best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address education options, licensing and certification, and online schools.
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Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Bessemer AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying agencies 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical option for many Bessemer AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general idea 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 wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Bessemer AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy 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 have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, 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 obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential 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 phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Bessemer AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. 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? First, check with 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 reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Bessemer AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Bessemer AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bessemer AL, check that they are offered 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 sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Bessemer Phlebotomy Training Program
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each program 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 right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bessemer Alabama.