Selecting a Phlebotomy Technician Course in Louisiana
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician training in Louisiana is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it’s important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We’ll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal 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 Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient’s data. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out to be able 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 may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some Louisiana phlebotomists actually work in laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren’t sufficient duties, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Louisiana medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working 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 environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training in Louisiana, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route 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 usually take two years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of employers require certification before employing technicians. Some 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it’s essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
First, let’s dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can’t obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved Louisiana healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for many students. As an added benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it’s time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the Louisiana school is significant in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it’s very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Louisiana or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools in Louisiana. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the job market.
What is the College’s Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it’s imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges 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 research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with several Louisiana area hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Louisiana school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the Louisiana regulator or the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the Louisiana schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Louisiana health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it’s an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Louisiana health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it’s crucial to confirm that the final program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends in Louisiana, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Course in Louisiana
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can differ slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each college before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Louisiana.