Choosing a Phlebotomy Course in New Jersey
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy technician school in New Jersey is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it’s important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We’ll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let’s address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient’s information. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some New Jersey phlebotomists in fact work in labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren’t enough duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as New Jersey hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training in New Jersey, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general 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, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in most states, a number of employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it’s imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let’s resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can’t obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option 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 reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it’s time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the New Jersey school is important as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it’s extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for New Jersey or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs in New Jersey. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the job market.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it’s essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact several New Jersey local hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the New Jersey school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, contact the New Jersey regulator or the state regulator where you will be practicing 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 considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the New Jersey programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local New Jersey health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job 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 higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it’s an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the New Jersey medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s important to make sure that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in New Jersey, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even 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 need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Find the Right Phlebotomy College in New Jersey
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in New Jersey.