Selecting a Phlebotomy Technician Course in Minnesota
Picking the right phlebotomist school in Minnesota is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it’s necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin the process by looking at two 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 nearby campus. We’ll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let’s cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient’s data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many Minnesota phlebotomists in fact work in labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren’t enough duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Minnesota medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training in Minnesota, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor’s Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the principal 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it’s essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let’s resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can’t get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial 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 prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical option for some students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school 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 disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right 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 start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the Minnesota college is significant in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it’s extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Minnesota or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able 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 unavailable for non-accredited programs in Minnesota. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the job market.
What is the College’s Ranking? In numerous 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 important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact some Minnesota area hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Minnesota school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with the Minnesota regulator or the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the Minnesota programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Minnesota health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it’s an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Minnesota health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it’s important to verify that the final school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Minnesota, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy College in Minnesota
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Minnesota.