How to Find the Right One Near Decatur Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Decatur AL is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However, to guarantee that you will get a quality education you must perform a detailed audit prior to making your selection. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. So when assessing phlebotomist training courses, cost and location shouldn’t be the sole parameters you are looking at. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection 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 reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover education options, licensing and certification, and online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Decatur AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Decatur AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Training Programs
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 degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Decatur AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Decatur AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin 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 reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with some Decatur AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Decatur AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Decatur AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Decatur AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Decatur Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have covered 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 offered in a variety of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may 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 carefully screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Decatur Alabama.