Choosing a Phlebotomist School in North Dakota
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy school in North Dakota is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it’s important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In fact, many potential students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We’ll review more about online schools later in this article. What’s important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process also. 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 select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let’s address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient’s information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of North Dakota phlebotomists actually work in labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren’t sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, including North Dakota medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting 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 drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. 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 new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training in North Dakota, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it’s imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
First, let’s dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can’t obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it’s time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the North Dakota school is significant in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it’s very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for North Dakota or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional 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 premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs in North Dakota. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the job market.
What is the School’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 imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact some North Dakota area hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the North Dakota school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact the North Dakota 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the North Dakota programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local North Dakota healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it’s an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the North Dakota medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it’s critical to verify that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends in North Dakota, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Phlebotomy Program in North Dakota
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary slightly across the country as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in North Dakota.