How to Find the Best One Near Oxford Alabama
Perhaps the most important decision you must make to enter the fulfilling healthcare vocation of phlebotomy is to choose the best phlebotomy school near Oxford AL. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. And if you will drive to classes or participate online is an option you need to consider as well. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. The basic definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Oxford AL medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it 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 may be the perfect profession for you.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, 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 under a year to finish and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Oxford AL employers require certification prior to hiring 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 a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
First, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Oxford AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you choose 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 premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Training Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Oxford AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Oxford AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact several Oxford AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Oxford AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Oxford AL health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Oxford AL, make sure 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 attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Oxford Phlebotomy Training
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important 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 quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Oxford Alabama.