How to Pick the Right One Near Opelika Alabama
An important first step one must take to enter the fulfilling healthcare vocation of phlebotomy is to select the right phlebotomy training near Opelika AL. There are a number of training programs available to you and it might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each one. Notwithstanding, to ensure that you will get a first-rate education you must perform your due diligence before making your decision. More often than not the two qualifications that first come to mind for student applicants are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. And if you will commute to classes or attend them online is an option you need to consider as well. Online classes will be discussed in more detail a bit later. So when assessing phlebotomy training courses, cost and location must not be the only parameters you are looking at. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection 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 choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Opelika AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing 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 samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Opelika AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the key 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, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Opelika AL students. As an added benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Questions 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 initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Opelika AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are a critical 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 several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Opelika AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. 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 even talk to some Opelika AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount 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 (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Opelika AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Opelika AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Opelika AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, 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 find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Opelika Phlebotomy Training Program
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each college before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Opelika Alabama.