Phlebotomist Training Schools
How to Choose the Best One Near Tuscaloosa Alabama
An important first step one must take to enter the rewarding healthcare vocation of phlebotomy is to select the best phlebotomy training near Tuscaloosa AL. There are numerous training options that are offered in your area and it may seem like a daunting task to research and analyze each one. However, to ensure that you will get a first-rate education you must perform a detailed audit prior to making your selection. In fact, most students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. Online classes will be discussed in more detail a bit later. So when evaluating phlebotomy training courses, location and cost must not be the only parameters you are looking at. Finding out if the program is accredited or if the school has a job assistance program should also be included in 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 ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?
First of all, few people are likely to 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 selects this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Tuscaloosa AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and 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 could be the perfect profession for you.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest 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 provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive 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, a number of Tuscaloosa AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Tuscaloosa AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Tuscaloosa AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Tuscaloosa AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Tuscaloosa AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate 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. 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 clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Tuscaloosa AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tuscaloosa AL health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tuscaloosa AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Tuscaloosa Phlebotomist Training Program
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ a bit across the country as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tuscaloosa Alabama.