Picking a Phlebotomy Technician Training Program in North Carolina
Selecting the right phlebotomist training in North Carolina is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it’s vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, many students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We’ll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant 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 select the best one for you. But before we do that, let’s cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient’s data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many North Carolina phlebotomists in fact work in laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren’t enough responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including North Carolina medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training in North Carolina, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it’s not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in most states, a number of employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the primary certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it’s essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let’s dispel one likely misconception. You can’t receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for many students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you 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 decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the North Carolina college is important in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it’s extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for North Carolina or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges in North Carolina. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the job market.
What is the School’s Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it’s imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several North Carolina local hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the North Carolina school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, check with the North Carolina 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the North Carolina schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local North Carolina healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at 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 positions, it’s an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the North Carolina medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it’s critical to verify that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in North Carolina, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Ideal Phlebotomy School in North Carolina
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in North Carolina.