How to Choose the Right One Near Homewood Alabama
A critical first step you must take to enter the rewarding medical vocation of phlebotomy is to select the right phlebotomy school near Homewood AL. There are numerous training programs available to you and it may seem like a daunting task to investigate and analyze each one. However, to guarantee that you will get a quality education you must perform a detailed audit before making your decision. In fact, many potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Whether you will commute to classes or participate online is an option you need to consider as well. Online schools will be covered in more detail a bit later. So when assessing phlebotomist training programs, cost and location must not be the sole criteria you are looking at. Researching if the program is accredited or if the school has a job placement program should also be included in your evaluation process. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Homewood AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic 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 incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Homewood AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the primary certifying organizations 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be practical 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 prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient option for many Homewood AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Training Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Homewood AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Homewood AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact some Homewood AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Homewood AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Homewood AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Homewood AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Homewood Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your final selection. By addressing 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 appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Homewood Alabama.