Phlebotomist Training Classes
How to Pick the Right One Near Birmingham Alabama
A critical first step you must take to enter the fulfilling healthcare vocation of phlebotomy is to select the right phlebotomy training near Birmingham AL. There are a number of training options that are offered in your area and it might seem like an intimidating undertaking to research and analyze each one. However, to ensure that you will get a top-notch education you must perform your due diligence prior to making your decision. In reality, most students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. And if you will drive to classes or attend them online is another consideration as well. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing 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 conversation about online training.
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Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?
First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. The short answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Birmingham AL medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete 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, even though it's not specifically 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 not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, many Birmingham AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the principal certifying organizations 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Birmingham AL students. As an added benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you wish 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 Birmingham AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose 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 benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Birmingham AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Birmingham AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Birmingham AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Birmingham AL medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Birmingham AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Birmingham Phlebotomy Training
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By asking 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 appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Birmingham Alabama.