Choosing a Phlebotomy Technician Training Program in Kansas
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy school in Kansas is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it’s vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We’ll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let’s address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient’s information. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of Kansas phlebotomists actually work in labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren’t sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Kansas hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training in Kansas, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor’s Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, a number of employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the primary 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 phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it’s essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
First, let’s resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can’t receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it’s time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on 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 Kansas campus is significant as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it’s extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Kansas or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs in Kansas. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the job market.
What is the College’s Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it’s imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few Kansas area hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Kansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the Kansas regulator or the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the Kansas schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Kansas medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it’s an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Kansas healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it’s crucial to verify that the final school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends in Kansas, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Select the Ideal Phlebotomy Course in Kansas
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best college for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Kansas.