Phlebotomist Training Courses
How to Find the Best One Near Birmingham Alabama
An important first step one must take to enter the gratifying healthcare profession of phlebotomy is to choose the right phlebotomy training near Birmingham AL. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However, to guarantee that you receive a first-rate education you must complete your due diligence prior to making your decision. More often than not the two requirements that first are considered by prospective students are where the school is located and how much the tuition is. And if you will drive to classes or participate online is an option you need to consider as well. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. So when assessing phlebotomy training courses, cost and location must not be the sole criteria you are looking at. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Birmingham AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist 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 provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Birmingham AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the primary 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Birmingham AL students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Training Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked 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 campus is important if you will be commuting from Birmingham AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very 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 Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program 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 several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Birmingham AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with some Birmingham AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Birmingham AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing provide 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 school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Birmingham AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Birmingham AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. 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 find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Birmingham Phlebotomy Training
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Birmingham Alabama.