Choosing a Phlebotomist Course in Illinois
Picking the ideal phlebotomy training in Illinois is an important first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it’s necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, most students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We’ll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What’s important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors 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 provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let’s cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient’s information. Next, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. Some Illinois phlebotomists in fact work in laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren’t sufficient duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Illinois hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training in Illinois, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as 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, even though it’s not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor’s Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the principal 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it’s important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
First, let’s dispel one possible misconception. You can’t receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved Illinois 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 may be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it’s time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the Illinois school is significant as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need 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 Illinois or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools in Illinois. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the job market.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, 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 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 as well. You can even talk to a few Illinois area clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Illinois school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, contact the Illinois regulator or the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the Illinois colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Illinois healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it’s an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Illinois healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it’s crucial to confirm that the final school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in Illinois, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify 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 ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Program in Illinois
Making sure that you choose 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 contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully 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 select the ideal college for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Illinois.