Picking a Phlebotomy Course in Missouri
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician school in Missouri is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it’s necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We’ll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What’s important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let’s address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient’s information. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some Missouri phlebotomists in fact work in labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren’t sufficient responsibilities, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Missouri medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training in Missouri, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor’s Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most employers look for certification prior to hiring 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it’s essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let’s dispel one possible misconception. You can’t obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Points 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 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 Missouri school is significant in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it’s very important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Missouri or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools in Missouri. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the job market.
What is the School’s Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it’s important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Missouri area clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Missouri school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, check with the Missouri regulator or the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the Missouri programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Missouri medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it’s an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Missouri health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it’s crucial to make sure that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Missouri, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Find the Ideal Phlebotomy School in Missouri
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a wide range of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Missouri.