Selecting a Phlebotomist Training Program in Rhode Island
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training in Rhode Island is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it’s important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, most students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We’ll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose 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 schools.
Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient’s information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing 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 Rhode Island phlebotomists actually work in laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren’t enough duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Rhode Island medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older 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 setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training in Rhode Island, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor’s Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of employers require certification before employing technicians. Some 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 call for 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 pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To start with, let’s resolve one possible misconception. You can’t obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved Rhode Island healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for some students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it’s time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the Rhode Island campus is significant in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it’s very important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Rhode Island or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools in Rhode Island. Finally, 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 Program’s Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it’s essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with some Rhode Island local hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Rhode Island school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with the Rhode Island regulator or the state regulator where you will be working to find out 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 provide at least 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 expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the Rhode Island programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Rhode Island medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it’s an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Rhode Island health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it’s critical to confirm that the final college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Rhode Island, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Phlebotomist College in Rhode Island
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Rhode Island.