Phlebotomist Training Programs
How to Pick the Right One Near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Perhaps the most serious decision you must make to enter the gratifying medical profession of phlebotomy is to select the right phlebotomy school near Vestavia Hills AL. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Notwithstanding, to guarantee that you receive a quality education you must perform your due diligence before making your decision. More often than not the two requirements that first are considered by prospective students are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. And if you will commute to classes or attend them online is another consideration as well. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
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Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?
First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. The basic answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Vestavia Hills AL medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect profession 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 usually takes under a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method 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 phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, most Vestavia Hills AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted 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-practical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Vestavia Hills AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Training Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Vestavia Hills AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. 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 working and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium 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 securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Vestavia Hills AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Vestavia Hills AL hospitals or clinics that you might 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 ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As 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 below these minimums might 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 partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Vestavia Hills AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Vestavia Hills AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Vestavia Hills Phlebotomy Training Program
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each college before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Vestavia Hills Alabama.