Choosing a Phlebotomist Training Program in South Carolina
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy school in South Carolina is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it’s necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most potential students begin the process by considering two 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 discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let’s cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient’s information. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many South Carolina phlebotomists in fact work in laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren’t enough duties, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as South Carolina hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training in South Carolina, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the primary 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it’s important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification 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 receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved South Carolina healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for many students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it’s time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the South Carolina school is significant as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to state? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it’s very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for South Carolina or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in 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 several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges in South Carolina. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the job market.
What is the College’s Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it’s essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start 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 rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact several South Carolina local clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the South Carolina school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, check with the South Carolina 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 classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the South Carolina colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local South Carolina healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it’s an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the South Carolina medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it’s critical to verify that the final program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends in South Carolina, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure 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 find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Select the Best Phlebotomist Course in South Carolina
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a wide range of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can differ slightly across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in South Carolina.