Phlebotomist Training Courses
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Fairhope Alabama
Picking the ideal phlebotomy school near Fairhope AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However, to guarantee that you will get a first-rate education you must complete your due diligence before making your decision. More often than not the two requirements that first come to mind for prospective students are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply 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 resume our conversation about online schools.
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Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Fairhope AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Fairhope AL employers require certification prior to hiring 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for many Fairhope AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Training Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Fairhope AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Fairhope AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Fairhope AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Fairhope AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Fairhope AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairhope AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Fairhope Phlebotomy Training Program
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program prior to making your final selection. 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 school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fairhope Alabama.