Phlebotomist Training Programs
How to Find the Right One Near Foley Alabama
An important first step you must take to enter the gratifying healthcare vocation of phlebotomy is to choose the right phlebotomy school near Foley AL. There are many training options available to you and it may seem like an intimidating task to investigate and analyze each one. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, most students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. So when evaluating phlebotomist training courses, cost and location shouldn’t be the sole parameters you are looking at. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Foley 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 toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in most states, many Foley AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
First, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Foley AL students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Training Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Foley AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized 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 in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Foley AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Foley AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Foley AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Foley AL medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Foley AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. 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 ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Foley Phlebotomy Training Program
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a number of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Foley Alabama.