How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist School near Apache Junction AZ
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Apache Junction AZ is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local 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 variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Apache Junction AZ labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Apache Junction AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Apache Junction AZ employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the primary certifying organizations 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Apache Junction AZ students. As an added benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Apache Junction AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arizona? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Apache Junction AZ job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact some Apache Junction AZ hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Apache Junction AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Apache Junction AZ healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the final college you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Apache Junction AZ, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Apache Junction Arizona
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Apache Junction AZ.