How to Choose the Best One Near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Selecting the right phlebotomist training near Vestavia Hills AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However, to guarantee that you receive a quality education you must perform a detailed audit prior to making your selection. In fact, most students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. So when assessing phlebotomist training courses, location and cost shouldn’t be the sole parameters you are looking at. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision 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 best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Vestavia Hills AL employers look for certification before employing 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To start with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed 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-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some Vestavia Hills AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Vestavia Hills AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Vestavia Hills 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 some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact some Vestavia Hills AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest 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 grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, check with 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 considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Vestavia Hills AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Vestavia Hills AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Vestavia Hills Phlebotomy Training
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Vestavia Hills Alabama.