How to Enroll in the Right One Near Helena Alabama
Choosing the right phlebotomist training near Helena AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. There are a number of training programs that are offered in your area and it might seem like an intimidating task to investigate and compare each one. However, to guarantee that you will get a top-notch education you must perform your due diligence prior to making your decision. In fact, many potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. So when comparing phlebotomist training courses, cost and location shouldn’t be the sole criteria you are looking at. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should 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 choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Helena AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in most states, a number of Helena AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Helena AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Training Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Helena AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure 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 programs you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Helena AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Helena AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Helena AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Helena AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final college you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Helena AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Helena Phlebotomy Training
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Helena Alabama.