How to Enroll in the Right One Near Hartselle Alabama
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician school near Hartselle AL is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. There are many training programs that are offered in your area and it can seem like an intimidating undertaking to investigate and compare each one. Notwithstanding, to guarantee that you receive a top-notch education you must perform your due diligence before making your selection. More often than not the two qualifications that initially come to mind for prospective students are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. Online classes 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 closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Hartselle AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Hartselle AL employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the course of study 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 in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for some Hartselle AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Hartselle AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before 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 phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Hartselle AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all 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 solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Hartselle AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing 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 reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Hartselle AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering 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 together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Hartselle AL health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hartselle AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Hartselle Phlebotomy Training Program
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Hartselle Alabama.