How to Pick the Right One Near Hartselle Alabama
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Hartselle AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. There are a number of training options available to you and it might seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare each one. Notwithstanding, to ensure that you receive a top-notch education you must perform a detailed audit before making your selection. 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. And if you will commute to classes or participate online is an option you need to consider as well. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant 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 assessing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, such as Hartselle AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Hartselle AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Hartselle AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Hartselle AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Hartselle AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any 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 assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Hartselle AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Hartselle AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Hartselle AL health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hartselle AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even 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 procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Hartselle Phlebotomy Training
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Hartselle Alabama.