How to Choose the Best One Near Helena Alabama
Perhaps the most serious decision you must make to enter the fulfilling healthcare profession of phlebotomy is to choose the right phlebotomy training near Helena AL. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. And if you will commute to classes or attend them online is an option you need to consider as well. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision 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 select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
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Should You Become a Plebotomist?
Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. The short definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Helena AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Helena AL employers require certification prior to 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial 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. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Helena AL students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type 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 significant if you will be commuting from Helena AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select 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 be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, 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 College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. 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 research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few Helena AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full 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 length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing 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 signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Helena AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Helena AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Helena AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Helena Phlebotomy Training Program
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care 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 are found in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may differ a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Helena Alabama.