How to Pick the Right One Near Prattville Alabama
Perhaps the most serious decision you must make to enter the fulfilling medical profession of phlebotomy is to select the best phlebotomy school near Prattville AL. There are a number of training options that are offered in your area and it can seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each one. Notwithstanding, to guarantee that you receive a first-rate education you must complete a detailed audit 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. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. So when evaluating phlebotomist training courses, cost and location shouldn’t be the sole criteria you are looking at. Finding out if the program is accredited or if the school has a job placement program must also be part of your evaluation process. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing 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 conversation about online classes.
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Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Prattville AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method 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 phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Prattville AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the primary certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for many Prattville AL students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Certificate or Degree Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Prattville AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist 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 some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as 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 has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Prattville AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Prattville AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Prattville AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Prattville AL health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prattville AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Prattville Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a number of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Prattville Alabama.