Phlebotomist Training Programs
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Huntsville Alabama
A critical first step you must take to enter the rewarding medical vocation of phlebotomy is to choose the best phlebotomy school near Huntsville AL. There are many training options that are offered in your area and it can seem like a daunting task to investigate and analyze each one. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
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Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. The basic answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Huntsville AL medical facilities, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Huntsville AL employers require certification prior to employing 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for some Huntsville AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you choose 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 attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Certificate or Degree Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Huntsville AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist 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 advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Huntsville AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin 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 also check with several Huntsville AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Huntsville AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Huntsville AL medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Huntsville AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Huntsville Phlebotomy Training Program
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Huntsville Alabama.