Choosing a Phlebotomist Training Program in Iowa
Selecting the right phlebotomist training in Iowa is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it’s important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We’ll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let’s cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient’s information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many Iowa phlebotomists in fact work in labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren’t sufficient duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Iowa hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training in Iowa, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it’s not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in most states, a number of employers require certification prior to 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it’s imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To start with, let’s resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can’t obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved Iowa healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for some students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it’s time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the Iowa campus is important in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it’s very important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools in Iowa. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the job market.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it’s essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Iowa area hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Iowa school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the Iowa regulator or the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the Iowa schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Iowa medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it’s an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Iowa medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s crucial to verify that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Iowa, check that 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 attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Program in Iowa
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Iowa.