Phlebotomists who have completed some type of phlebotomy training program are healthcare workers that are responsible for drawing blood. However, their duties do not end there. Phlebotomists are also responsible for properly storing samples, documenting and labelling samples, and following strict safety protocols. Specialized training prepares phlebotomists for all aspects of their job.
There are many training programs available to phlebotomists through healthcare facilities, career or vocational schools, and community colleges. It is possible to become a certified phlebotomist online. Like many other programs, there are lots of options available. And like other programs, it is essential to carefully select an online program.
Many of the topics covered by the online course will be the same as traditional phlebotomy programs. As in traditional courses, the materials and content of the online program should meet the standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). Phlebotomy students will learn human anatomy and physiology, blood collection and storage procedures, and administrative skills such as labeling and data entry.
It is wise to consider and compare phlebotomy programs before selecting one. There are many online courses available, however not all provide the same quality of education. Like traditional phlebotomy courses, hands-on clinical experience is required to qualify for certification. Good online phlebotomy training programs will assist you in setting up an internship or will provide additional hands-on training sessions.
For example, the Portland Community College, is offering a phlebotomy hybrid course in the fall semester of 2010. The course is 45 hours long, 32 of which are spent in a laboratory setting. The remaining 13 hours of instruction are accessed online. This course alone does not qualify students for certification; students will be scheduled to complete an additional 100 hours of clinical experience.
The quality of a program can be ensured by selecting a program that is accredited. Programs can be accredited through the United States Department of Education, the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Standards (NAACLS), or similar agents. Especially common among online courses, many employers and certifying agencies may refuse to recognize non-accredited programs and courses as legitimate. If you have a specific employer in mind, you can check with them to ensure your program will be recognized.
Also important to consider are the course structures. Do they meet your learning style? Perhaps the course requires you to be online at certain times to complete assessments. Do you need a flexible schedule? Be sure to select classes that fit into your daily and weekly schedule. If you are taking other classes, be sure that they do not conflict with your phlebotomy training.
Enrolling in an online program is not suited to all learning styles. However, people with busy schedules and full-time or part-time jobs benefit from the freedom associated with not having to physically attend classes.
Taking an online course does not certify a phlebotomist. An additional certification exam must be completed through a certifying agency. Becoming a certified phlebotomist is highly recommended.
Although only legally required of practicing phlebotomists in California and Louisiana, many employers will hire only certified practitioners. There are ten nationally recognized agencies in the United States; these include the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), the American Phlebotomy Association (APA), and the National Phlebotomy Association (NPA). The certification exam is available online through most agencies; however a practical session must also be completed.