How to Choose the Right One Near Northport Alabama
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist school near Northport AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. There are a number of training options that are offered in your area and it can seem like a daunting task to research and compare each one. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. Online classes will be discussed in more detail a bit later. So when comparing phlebotomy training courses, cost and location must not be the sole parameters you are looking at. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Northport AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist 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 accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, most Northport AL employers look for 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Northport AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Certificate or Degree Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen 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 college is significant if you will be commuting from Northport AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Northport AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out 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 assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact some Northport AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see 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 Enough Training Provided? First, contact 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 phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Northport AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Northport AL medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Northport 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. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Northport Phlebotomist Training Program
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each school before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Northport Alabama.