How to Enroll in the Best One Near Vestavia Hills Alabama
A critical first step you must take to enter the fulfilling medical profession of phlebotomy is to select the best phlebotomy training near Vestavia Hills AL. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However, to ensure that you will get a first-rate education you must complete a detailed audit before making your decision. In fact, most potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. Online courses will be discussed in more detail a bit later. So when comparing phlebotomist training programs, cost and location must not be the sole criteria you are looking at. Researching if the program is accredited or if the school has a job placement program must also be included in your due diligence process. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Vestavia Hills AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education along 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, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Vestavia Hills AL employers look for certification before 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
First, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Vestavia Hills AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Training Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on 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 as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Vestavia Hills AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Vestavia Hills AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. 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 Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Vestavia Hills AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Vestavia Hills AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, check that they are available 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 completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Vestavia Hills Phlebotomy Training Program
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a number of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Vestavia Hills Alabama.