Phlebotomist Training Programs
How to Choose the Best One Near Montgomery Alabama
Selecting the right phlebotomist school near Montgomery AL is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However, to guarantee that you will get a quality education you must complete a detailed audit prior to making your decision. In reality, most potential students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. So when comparing phlebotomist training programs, location and cost shouldn’t be the sole criteria you are looking at. Researching if the program is accredited or if the school has a job assistance program must also be part of your evaluation process. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?
First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. The basic answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Montgomery AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education together 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 exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, most Montgomery AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist 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.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some Montgomery AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on 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 campus is important if you will be commuting from Montgomery AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, 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 desirable to future employers in the Montgomery AL job market.
What is the Program'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 along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Montgomery AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Montgomery AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding 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 offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Montgomery AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to confirm that the final program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery 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. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Montgomery Phlebotomist Training Program
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a number of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Montgomery Alabama.