Phlebotomist Training Programs
How to Choose the Best One Near Cullman Alabama
Perhaps the most important decision you must make to enter the rewarding medical vocation of phlebotomy is to select the best phlebotomy school near Cullman AL. There are a number of training options available to you and it might seem like an intimidating task to investigate and analyze each one. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In fact, a large number of students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Researching if the program is accredited or if the school has a job placement program should also be included in your evaluation process. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
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Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Right out of the gate, not many people probably 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 decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Cullman AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work around anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected 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 may be the perfect profession for you.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, most Cullman AL employers look for certification prior to 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum 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-practical component of the training can be attended online, it may be a more practical option for many Cullman AL students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Training Programs
Now that you 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 kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Cullman AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Cullman AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. 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 ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Cullman AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Cullman AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school 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 a substantial network of professional contacts within the Cullman AL medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Cullman AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, 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 protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Cullman Phlebotomist Training Program
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Cullman Alabama.