How to Pick the Right One Near Muscle Shoals Alabama
A critical first step one must take to enter the rewarding healthcare vocation of phlebotomy is to select the best phlebotomy school near Muscle Shoals AL. It may seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. Quite often the two qualifications that first come to mind for student applicants are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. Whether you will commute to classes or attend them online is an option you need to consider as well. Online schools will be discussed in more detail a bit later. So when evaluating phlebotomist training courses, cost and location must not be the sole parameters you are looking at. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important 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 assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Muscle Shoals AL labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Muscle Shoals AL employers require certification before 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, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum 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 completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for some Muscle Shoals AL students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school 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 premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you wish 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 Muscle Shoals AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Muscle Shoals AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact several Muscle Shoals AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? 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 classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Muscle Shoals AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at offer 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 college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Muscle Shoals AL health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Muscle Shoals AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Muscle Shoals Phlebotomist Training
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a variety of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Muscle Shoals Alabama.