Selecting a Phlebotomist Training Course near Washington District of Columbia
Picking the ideal phlebotomist training near Washington DC is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it’s necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, many students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We’ll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to researching phlebotomist training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomist schools you are considering to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let’s address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient’s data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Washington DC area labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren’t enough duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Washington DC medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it’s not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at Washington DC junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Washington DC employers look for certification prior to 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it’s imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let’s dispel one possible misconception. You can’t get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Washington DC students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it’s time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the Washington DC programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to District of Columbia? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it’s extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for District of Columbia or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Washington DC job market.
What is the School’s Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it’s imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Washington DC hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the District of Columbia school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the Washington DC training program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with Washington DC health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Washington health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it’s an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Washington DC medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it’s important to verify that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Washington DC, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Considering Phlebotomy Training near Washington DC?
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States of America. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father. Washington is the principal city of the Washington Metropolitan Area, which has a population of 6,131,977. Washington is described as the political Capital of the World, owing to its status as the seat of the United States Federal Government and numerous international institutions, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Washington is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million annual tourists.
The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country's East Coast. The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any state. The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria. Named in honor of President George Washington, the City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land originally ceded by Virginia; in 1871, it created a single municipal government for the remaining portion of the District.
Washington had an estimated population of 693,972 as of July 2017. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city's population to more than one million during the workweek. The Washington metropolitan area, of which the District is the principal city, has a population of over 6 million, the sixth-largest metropolitan statistical area in the country.
All three branches of the U.S. Federal Government are centered in the District: U.S. Congress (legislative), President (executive), and the U.S. Supreme Court (judicial). Washington is home to many national monuments and museums, which are primarily situated on or around the National Mall. The city hosts 177 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of many international organizations, trade unions, non-profit, lobbying groups, and professional associations, including the Organization of American States, AARP, the National Geographic Society, the Human Rights Campaign, NASA, the International Finance Corporation, and the American Red Cross.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Washington DC
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ slightly across the country as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best college for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Washington DC.
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