Picking a Phlebotomy Technician School in Colorado
Selecting the right phlebotomy school in Colorado is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it’s vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, many potential students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online 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 comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let’s cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient’s data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. A number of Colorado phlebotomists in fact work in laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren’t sufficient duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Colorado hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training in Colorado, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides 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 phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor’s Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it’s imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To begin with, let’s resolve one possible misconception. You can’t obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved Colorado healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some students. As an added benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it’s time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the Colorado school is important in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a school or program. But they are not the only 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 final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it’s extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Colorado or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges in Colorado. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the job market.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it’s important to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Colorado area clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Colorado school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the Colorado regulator or the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the Colorado schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Colorado health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it’s an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Colorado health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it’s critical to make sure that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends in Colorado, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Find the Ideal Phlebotomist Program in Colorado
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a variety of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can differ a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently screen and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Colorado.