Choosing a Phlebotomy Technician School in Michigan
Picking the right phlebotomy technician training in Michigan is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it’s necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We’ll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let’s address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient’s data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of Michigan phlebotomists in fact work in labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren’t sufficient duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Michigan hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training in Michigan, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education as well as 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 include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor’s Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of employers require certification before employing 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 call for certification prior to practicing 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 enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To begin with, let’s dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can’t obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for some students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it’s time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on 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 Michigan campus is relevant in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it’s very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Michigan or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools in Michigan. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the job market.
What is the School’s Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those 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 start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact some Michigan area clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Michigan school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the Michigan regulator or the state regulator where you will be practicing 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 reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the Michigan colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Michigan health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it’s an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Michigan medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s critical to confirm that the final college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends in Michigan, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Ideal Phlebotomy College in Michigan
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, 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 phlebotomist in Michigan.