Phlebotomist Training Courses
How to Choose the Right One Near Gadsden Alabama
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy school near Gadsden AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. There are many training programs that are offered in your area and it can seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each one. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. Quite often the two requirements that initially come to mind for prospective students are where the school is located and how much the tuition is. Whether you will commute to classes or attend them online is an option you need to consider as well. Online schools will be discussed in more detail a bit later. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as 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 provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
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Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Gadsden AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked 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 specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer 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, many Gadsden 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 phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the program of studies 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. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient option for some Gadsden AL students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program 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 quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Certificate or Degree Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as 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 superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Gadsden AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start 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 organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with several Gadsden AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing 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 Ample Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out 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 (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Gadsden AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Gadsden AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Gadsden Phlebotomy Training
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each school prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Gadsden Alabama.