Phlebotomist Training Programs
How to Choose the Right One Near Florence Alabama
Perhaps the most important decision you must make to enter the rewarding medical vocation of phlebotomy is to select the right phlebotomy training near Florence AL. There are many training options available to you and it can seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare each one. However, to guarantee that you will get a top-notch education you must perform your due diligence prior to making your decision. Quite often the two qualifications that first come to mind for prospective students are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. Another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. Online courses will be discussed in more detail a bit later. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection 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 evaluating to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
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Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. The short answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Florence AL medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights 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 job for you.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Florence AL employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the principal certifying organizations 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, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Florence AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online 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 might be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Florence AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school 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 advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Florence AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any 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 research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Florence AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Florence AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Florence AL medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Florence AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Florence Phlebotomist Training Program
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a variety of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each school before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Florence Alabama.