How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech School
Selecting the right phlebotomy school near Woodlawn VA is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it’s vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, many prospective students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We’ll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let’s cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. The basic answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. We will provide more details later. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Woodlawn VA medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right profession for you.
Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient’s information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Woodlawn VA laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren’t sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Woodlawn VA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it’s not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Woodlawn VA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the key certifying organizations 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, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it’s important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To start with, let’s dispel one possible misconception. You can’t receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Woodlawn VA students. As an added benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now 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 selected 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 college is significant if you will be commuting from Woodlawn VA in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it’s very important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Virginia or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional 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 an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Woodlawn VA job market.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it’s important to check out the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact some Woodlawn VA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Virginia school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Woodlawn VA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it’s an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Woodlawn VA medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it’s important to make sure that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Woodlawn VA, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Phlebotomy Degree Woodlawn Virginia
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may vary a bit across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each college prior to making your final selection. You originally came to this website due to an interest in Phlebotomy Degree and to get more information regarding Training For Phlebotomy. However, by asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Woodlawn VA.
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