How to Pick the Best One Near Muscle Shoals Alabama
Perhaps the most serious decision you must make to enter the gratifying medical profession of phlebotomy is to choose the best phlebotomy training near Muscle Shoals AL. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Notwithstanding, to ensure that you will get a quality education you must complete a detailed audit prior to making your selection. More often than not the two requirements that first are considered by prospective students are where the school is located and how much the tuition is. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. So when comparing phlebotomist training programs, cost and location shouldn’t be the only criteria you are looking at. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. The basic answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Muscle Shoals AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and 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 profession for you.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Muscle Shoals AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the main 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 California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
First, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be clinical 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 prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Muscle Shoals AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Muscle Shoals AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to 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 exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Muscle Shoals AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Muscle Shoals AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Muscle Shoals AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Muscle Shoals AL health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Muscle Shoals AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Muscle Shoals Phlebotomist Training Program
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently screen and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Muscle Shoals Alabama.