Selecting a Phlebotomy Course in Georgia
Picking the ideal phlebotomy school in Georgia is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it’s necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. 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 checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let’s address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient’s data. Afterward, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many Georgia phlebotomists actually work in labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren’t sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Georgia medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training in Georgia, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification in order to practice 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 choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
First, let’s dispel one potential misconception. You can’t obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved Georgia healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it’s time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen 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 Georgia campus is important as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a school or program. 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 colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it’s extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Georgia or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs in Georgia. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the job market.
What is the College’s Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it’s important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Georgia local clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Georgia school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, contact the Georgia regulator or the 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 phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the Georgia colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Georgia medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it’s an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Georgia medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it’s critical to verify that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends in Georgia, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Find the Best Phlebotomy College in Georgia
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a number of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Georgia.