How to Choose the Best One Near Florence Alabama
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Florence AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. There are many training options that are offered in your area and it might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each one. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. More often than not the two requirements that initially come to mind for prospective students are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Finding out if the program is accredited or if the school has a job assistance program must also be part of your due diligence process. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Florence AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, most Florence AL employers require 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist 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
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out 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 portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Florence AL students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make sure 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 extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen 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 Florence AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements 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 clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Florence AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Florence AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Florence AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Florence AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Florence AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Florence Phlebotomy Training
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Florence Alabama.