Choosing a Phlebotomy Technician Training Program in Montana
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school in Montana is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it’s vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby 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 much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal 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.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient’s data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many Montana phlebotomists actually work in labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren’t sufficient duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Montana medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training in Montana, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many employers require certification before employing technicians. Some 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it’s important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
First, let’s dispel one possible misconception. You can’t receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out 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 part of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for many students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it’s time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the Montana school is significant in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to state? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it’s very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Montana or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools in Montana. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the job market.
What is the College’s Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it’s essential to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. 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 research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Montana local clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Montana school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with the Montana regulator or the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the Montana colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Montana medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying 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 Montana medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it’s critical to verify that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Montana, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Select the Ideal Phlebotomist Program in Montana
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Montana.