Phlebotomist Training Programs
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Muscle Shoals Alabama
Perhaps the most important decision you must make to enter the gratifying healthcare vocation of phlebotomy is to choose the right phlebotomy training near Muscle Shoals AL. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. More often than not the two qualifications that first are considered by student applicants are where the school is located and how much the tuition is. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. Online courses will be discussed in greater detail a bit later. So when evaluating phlebotomy training courses, 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 should also be included in your evaluation process. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
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Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Muscle Shoals AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Muscle Shoals AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of 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 prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part 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-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Muscle Shoals AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Certificate or Degree Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Muscle Shoals AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Muscle Shoals AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact several Muscle Shoals AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing 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 considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Muscle Shoals AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much 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 college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Muscle Shoals AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Muscle Shoals AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm 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 protocol is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Muscle Shoals Phlebotomist Training
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Muscle Shoals Alabama.