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Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Cottondale AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick 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 a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Cottondale AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with several Cottondale AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing 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 provide 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 provide adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Cottondale AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Cottondale AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Cottondale AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.