Phlebotomist Training Programs
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Gadsden Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near Gadsden AL is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. There are numerous training options that are offered in your area and it may seem like an intimidating undertaking to investigate and analyze each one. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. Online classes will be discussed in more detail a bit later. So when evaluating phlebotomy training courses, cost and location shouldn’t be the only criteria you are looking at. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. The basic definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Gadsden AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right profession for you.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Gadsden AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose 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.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Gadsden AL students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (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 dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Certificate or Degree Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Gadsden AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. 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 have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Gadsden AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Gadsden AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Gadsden AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Gadsden AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Gadsden AL, make sure 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 practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Gadsden Phlebotomist Training Program
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ a bit across the country as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Gadsden Alabama.