Picking a Phlebotomist Training Program in Massachusetts
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician training in Massachusetts is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it’s vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, many prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We’ll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let’s cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient’s data. Next, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports 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 Massachusetts phlebotomists in fact work in laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren’t enough duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and diverse, including Massachusetts medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training in Massachusetts, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it’s not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor’s Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, a number of employers look for certification before hiring 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it’s essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To start with, let’s dispel one likely misconception. You can’t obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for some students. As an added benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it’s time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen 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 Massachusetts school is important in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted 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. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it’s extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Massachusetts or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools in Massachusetts. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the job market.
What is the School’s Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it’s imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Massachusetts local hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Massachusetts school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, contact the Massachusetts 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 might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the Massachusetts schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Massachusetts medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it’s an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Massachusetts healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it’s important to confirm that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Massachusetts, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Find the Right Phlebotomist College in Massachusetts
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Massachusetts.