Picking a Phlebotomy Course in South Dakota
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school in South Dakota is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it’s vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, most students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may 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 a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let’s cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient’s data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point 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 may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many South Dakota phlebotomists in fact work in laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren’t sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as South Dakota medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training in South Dakota, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it’s not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in most states, a number of employers require certification before employing technicians. Some 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it’s essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To begin with, let’s resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can’t obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved South Dakota healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for some students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it’s time to begin 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 South Dakota campus is significant in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to state? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it’s extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for South Dakota or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools in South Dakota. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the job market.
What is the School’s Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist 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 start 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 ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact a few South Dakota local hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the South Dakota school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with the South 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 phlebotomy 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 less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the South Dakota colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local South Dakota medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it’s an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the South Dakota healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it’s important to confirm that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in South Dakota, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical 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 due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Phlebotomist College in South Dakota
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school before 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 select the best program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in South Dakota.