How to Pick the Right One Near Helena Alabama
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Helena AL is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, many prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. And if you will commute to classes or attend them online is another consideration as well. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. So when assessing phlebotomy training programs, cost and location shouldn’t be the only parameters you are looking at. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must 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 select the right 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 do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Helena AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, many Helena AL employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the main certifying organizations 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Helena AL students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Helena AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as 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. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Helena AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Helena AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see 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 submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Helena AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Helena AL health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Helena AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Helena Phlebotomist Training Program
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Helena Alabama.