How to Choose the Right One Near Hartselle Alabama
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician training near Hartselle AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. There are a number of training options available to you and it can seem like an intimidating undertaking to investigate and compare each one. However, to guarantee that you receive a quality education you must complete your due diligence prior to making your decision. Quite often the two requirements that initially are considered by student applicants are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. So when evaluating phlebotomist training courses, location and cost must not be the sole parameters you are looking at. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Hartselle AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Hartselle AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary 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 phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Hartselle AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). 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 may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Hartselle AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy 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 a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Hartselle AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with a few Hartselle 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 complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Hartselle AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Hartselle AL medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hartselle AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Hartselle Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Hartselle Alabama.