Phlebotomist Training Programs
How to Choose the Best One Near Opelika Alabama
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy training near Opelika AL is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. There are a number of training programs available to you and it may seem like a daunting undertaking to research and compare each one. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. More often than not the two requirements that first come to mind for student applicants are where the school is located and how much the tuition is. Whether you will commute to classes or attend them online is another consideration as well. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address education options, licensing and certification, and online schools.
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Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, most Opelika AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Opelika AL students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind 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 important if you will be commuting from Opelika AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist 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 a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take 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 not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Opelika AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact several Opelika AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Opelika AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Opelika AL medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Opelika AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Opelika Phlebotomist Training Program
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Opelika Alabama.