Phlebotomist Training Schools
How to Choose the Best One Near Pelham Alabama
Perhaps the most serious decision you must make to enter the gratifying healthcare vocation of phlebotomy is to select the best phlebotomy school near Pelham AL. There are a number of training programs available to you and it might seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare each one. However, to ensure that you will get a top-notch education you must perform your due diligence prior to making your selection. More often than not the two qualifications that first are considered by student applicants are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. Whether you will drive to classes or attend them online is another consideration as well. Online schools will be discussed in greater detail a bit later. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Researching if the program is accredited or if the school has a job assistance program should also be part of your evaluation process. 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 ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Pelham AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Pelham AL employers require certification prior to hiring 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion 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. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Pelham AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Training Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Pelham AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Pelham AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Pelham AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough 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 amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Pelham AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help 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 high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Pelham AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pelham AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Pelham Phlebotomist Training Program
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Pelham Alabama.