How to Enroll in the Right One Near Northport Alabama
A critical first step one must take to enter the gratifying healthcare vocation of phlebotomy is to select the best phlebotomy school near Northport AL. There are a number of training options that are offered in your area and it may seem like a daunting task to research and compare each one. However, to guarantee that you will get a quality education you must complete a detailed audit before making your selection. More often than not the two requirements that first are considered by student applicants are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. Online courses will be covered in more detail a bit later. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Finding out if the program is accredited or if the school has a job assistance program should also be included in your due diligence process. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?
First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. The short answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Northport AL medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and 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 right job for you.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education together with 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, most Northport AL employers require certification prior to 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Northport AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Northport AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Northport AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important 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 online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Northport AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Northport AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Northport AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to verify that the final program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Northport AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Northport Phlebotomist Training Program
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a number of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Northport Alabama.