How to Pick the Best One Near Birmingham Alabama
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist training near Birmingham AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. There are many training programs available to you and it may seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare each one. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Whether you will commute to classes or participate online is another consideration as well. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. So when evaluating phlebotomist training courses, cost and location shouldn’t be the only criteria you are looking at. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must 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 assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. The basic answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Birmingham AL medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Birmingham AL employers look for certification prior to hiring 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some Birmingham AL students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Birmingham AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. 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 need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized 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 program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Birmingham AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist 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 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 placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Birmingham AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length 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 may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Birmingham AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Birmingham AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Birmingham AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, 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 completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Birmingham Phlebotomy Training
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each program before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Birmingham Alabama.