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What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now 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 selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Alexandria AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy 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 have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Alexandria AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Alexandria AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Alexandria AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Alexandria AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Alexandria AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study 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 have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.