Picking a Phlebotomy School in Texas
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school in Texas is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it’s necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We’ll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What’s important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection 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 choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let’s address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient’s information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some Texas phlebotomists in fact work in labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren’t enough duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and varied, including Texas medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training in Texas, 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 provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it’s not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor’s Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the key 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it’s imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let’s resolve one possible misconception. You can’t receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved Texas healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient option for some students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it’s time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the Texas campus is important as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it’s extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Texas or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools in Texas. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the job market.
What is the School’s Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it’s important to check the reputations of any schools 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 placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Texas local hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Texas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with the Texas regulator or the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the Texas programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Texas healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it’s an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Texas healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it’s critical to confirm that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Texas, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist College in Texas
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right college for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Texas.