How to Enroll in the Best One Near Pelham Alabama
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Pelham AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. There are a number of training options that are offered in your area and it might seem like an intimidating undertaking to investigate and compare each one. Notwithstanding, to guarantee that you will get a top-notch education you must perform your due diligence prior to making your decision. Quite often the two requirements that first come to mind for student applicants are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. Whether you will commute to classes or attend them online is another consideration as well. Online classes will be discussed in more detail a bit later. So when comparing phlebotomist training courses, location and cost shouldn’t be the only criteria you are looking at. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must 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 assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. The short definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Pelham AL medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect job for you.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Pelham AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the program of studies will be clinical 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. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Pelham AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Certificate or Degree Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Pelham AL as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College 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 many benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium 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 getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Pelham AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check 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 research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Pelham AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn 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 less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Pelham AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, 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 Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Pelham AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Pelham Phlebotomy Training
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Pelham Alabama.