How to Choose and Apply to Phlebotomy Schools
The decision to become a phlebotomist is one you should take very seriously. While the work is relatively cut and dry, you will be dealing with human beings, emotions, bodily fluids, and hazardous materials on a daily basis. As such, you’ll want to ensure you are attending a training program that will prepare you for anything and everything you might encounter.
Choosing the Right Phlebotomy School
There are several things you should keep in mind as you begin reviewing your options in terms of phlebotomy training. First, you should think about your personal needs.
- Are you a full-time student?
- Do you need to work while you are in school?
- Do you want to get to work as soon as possible or do you have more time to spend on your training?
- Do you have the financial means to pay for a training program?
- Are you looking to work in the field of phlebotomy long-term or do you want to advance into other medical careers?
Once you have the answers to some of these questions you’ll have a better idea of what you are looking for in a school. Once you start to narrow down the list of schools in your area, you’ll want to make appointments to visit each. Here are some things you should be asking:
- What is the length of your training program?
- Do you offer full-time and part-time options?
- What is the cost of the program?
- Do you offer financial aid?
- Does the program include classroom practical as well as real-life clinical experience?
- Does your school place students in internship programs?
- Does your phlebotomy school have a job placement program for graduates?
Applying to Phlebotomy Schools
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, you’ll want to begin applying to phlebotomy schools. Each school will have a different application process, but many of the steps will be similar. You should expect to be asked to visit the school to fill out an application. You may also be asked to come to the school to meet with a recruiter or counselor to discuss your career aspirations and goals. In most cases, especially in terms of phlebotomy programs, these steps are mere formalities.
The most important part of the application process is the discussion of your financial obligations. You’ll need to determine exactly what the school expects from you in terms of payment. Many require full payment upfront before you can begin classes while others will help you to apply for federal assistance programs. Some schools, but not many, will allow you to make monthly payments directly to them. If the latter is the case, you will not be given your proof of training unless you make all of your payments.
Choosing your phlebotomy school is the most difficult part of the process. Applying and making payment arrangements is secondary. Make sure you take your time and do your research before making a final decision. Your future career depends on the institution you choose!
My Favorite Accredited Phlebotomy Schools
Phlebotomists have quite a bit of responsibility – more than outsiders might initially imagine. Human blood and bodily secretions contain quite a bit of valuable information – and they can also carry potentially dangerous diseases. As such, the government has deemed it necessary for phlebotomists to undergo certain degrees of training before they can work with people – and all phlebotomists must take a formal certification exam once they’ve been trained.
As a potential phlebotomy student, it is important for you to choose a school that will properly prepare you for certification. Accredited schools are those that have been approved by governing bodies and professional organizations. These schools are carefully reviewed and are believed to be providing the best education possible to future healthcare providers. Because of the review process accredited schools must go through, many phlebotomy organizations require you attend one before you can sit for an exam. While there are some non-accredited schools out there, attending one may hinder your ability to become certified or find work later on down the line. Here are some of my favorite accredited phlebotomy programs.
Accredited Phlebotomy Schools and Programs
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. This program is run out of Newark, NJ but the university has programs throughout the entire state. The program is a certificate program after which you will be prepared to sit for a national certification exam.
California Institute of Medical Science, Inc. Located in Fresno, California, this program is one of the finest in this section of California. The institute prepares hundreds of individuals for health care careers each year.
Rapides Regional Medical Center. One of the cool things about a program run through a medical center is the hands on opportunities you have during the learning experience. Rapides Regional Medical Center is located in Alexandria, LA, but there are plenty of other accredited medical centers throughout the country offering similar training programs.
Major Phlebotomy Agencies for Accreditation and Certification
While these three rank amongst my favorite, there are – like I said – hundreds of different schools to choose from. Not all are accredited by the same agency, but any accreditation should be taken seriously. When choosing a school, like for an accreditation from the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). This organization plays a huge role in the accreditation process for health care programs of all types around the country. Visit their website for information on how they regulate phlebotomy education programs.
As a future phlebotomist, you’ll want to focus on getting certified. The school you attend should not only be accredited but should also be preparing you for a certification exam through one of the major certification agencies. These include:
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP);
- American Medical Technologists;
- American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians;
- American Certification Agency;
- National Center for Competency Testing; and
- National Phlebotomy Association
No matter what you do, make sure you attend a school that is accredited by the NAACLS and which supports one of these certification groups. Once you’ve got these two items marked off your list, you’ll be well on your way to a successful career in phlebotomy.