Phlebotomist Training Classes
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Helena Alabama
An important first step you must take to enter the rewarding medical profession of phlebotomy is to choose the best phlebotomy school near Helena AL. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However, to guarantee that you will get a first-rate education you must perform your due diligence before making your decision. In reality, a large number of potential students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. Online courses will be covered in more detail a bit later. So when evaluating phlebotomist training courses, cost and location must not be the only parameters you are looking at. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Helena AL laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education together 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 phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, most Helena AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the principal 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 phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Helena AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program 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 receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen 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 school is relevant if you will be commuting from Helena AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Helena AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Helena AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering 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 offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Helena AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Helena AL medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to 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 on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Helena Phlebotomy Training
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Helena Alabama.