Selecting a Phlebotomy Technician Training Program in Tennessee
Selecting the right phlebotomist school in Tennessee is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it’s important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We’ll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let’s address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient’s data. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many Tennessee phlebotomists in fact work in labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren’t enough duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Tennessee hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training in Tennessee, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, many employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it’s important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To start with, let’s resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can’t get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved Tennessee healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for some students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior 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 ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
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 decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the Tennessee college is significant in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it’s extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Tennessee or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in 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 benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from 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 administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools in Tennessee. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the job market.
What is the College’s Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it’s imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Tennessee area hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Tennessee school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact the Tennessee regulator or the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 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 comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the Tennessee colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Tennessee medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it’s an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Tennessee healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s important to verify that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends in Tennessee, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Find the Best Phlebotomist Program in Tennessee
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tennessee.