Selecting a Phlebotomy School in Vermont
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school in Vermont is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it’s necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In reality, many students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We’ll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let’s address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient’s data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some Vermont phlebotomists actually work in laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren’t sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Vermont hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training in Vermont, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it’s not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor’s Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying agencies 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 Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it’s essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
To begin with, let’s resolve one possible misconception. You can’t obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved Vermont healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for many students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it’s time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the Vermont campus is important in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting 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 looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it’s very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Vermont or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example 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 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. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools in Vermont. 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 School’s Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it’s essential to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Vermont local clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Vermont school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, check with the Vermont regulator or the state regulator where you will be practicing 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 considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most 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? Ask the Vermont programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Vermont health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it’s an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Vermont healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it’s crucial to verify that the final school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in Vermont, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Find the Right Phlebotomy College in Vermont
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right college for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Vermont.