Phlebotomist Training Programs
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Bessemer Alabama
Perhaps the most important decision you must make to enter the fulfilling medical vocation of phlebotomy is to select the right phlebotomy school near Bessemer AL. There are a number of training options that are offered in your area and it can seem like an intimidating undertaking to research and compare each one. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Whether you will commute to classes or participate online is an option you need to consider as well. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection 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 select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. The basic definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious 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. Phlebotomists often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Bessemer AL employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the key certifying agencies 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 phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical option for many Bessemer AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Bessemer AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose 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 Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Bessemer AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few 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 complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of 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 amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Bessemer AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Bessemer AL health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bessemer AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Bessemer Phlebotomist Training Program
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a number of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Bessemer Alabama.