How to Enroll in the Best One Near Homewood Alabama
An important first step you must take to enter the fulfilling medical vocation of phlebotomy is to choose the best phlebotomy training near Homewood AL. It may seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Notwithstanding, to ensure that you receive a top-notch education you must complete your due diligence prior to making your selection. Quite often the two qualifications that first are considered by student applicants are where the school is located and how much the tuition is. Whether you will drive to classes or participate online is another consideration as well. Online classes will be discussed in more detail a bit later. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Researching if the program is accredited or if the school has a job placement program must also be included in your due diligence process. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Homewood AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, many Homewood AL employers require certification prior to 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part 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 completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Homewood AL students. As an added benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start 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 mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Homewood AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. 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 several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Homewood AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all schools 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 research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Homewood AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with 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. 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 comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Homewood AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most 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 Homewood AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Homewood AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Homewood Phlebotomy Training
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a variety of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can differ slightly across the country as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Homewood Alabama.