Choosing a Phlebotomy Course in New Mexico
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician training in New Mexico is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it’s vital that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In reality, many prospective students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We’ll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let’s address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient’s data. Afterward, paperwork has to 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 can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some New Mexico phlebotomists in fact work in labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren’t enough duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as New Mexico hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training in New Mexico, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of employers look for certification prior to 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it’s important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let’s resolve one possible misconception. You can’t receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved New Mexico healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it’s time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked 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 New Mexico campus is significant in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, 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 amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it’s very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for New Mexico or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs in New Mexico. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the job market.
What is the School’s Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it’s imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with a few New Mexico area clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the New Mexico school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with the New Mexico regulator or the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the New Mexico programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local New Mexico healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot 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 college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it’s an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the New Mexico medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it’s important to confirm that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends in New Mexico, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy College in New Mexico
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in New Mexico.