How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Apache Junction AZ
Picking the ideal phlebotomy training near Apache Junction AZ is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Apache Junction AZ laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Apache Junction AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Apache Junction AZ employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the main 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Apache Junction AZ students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online 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 may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Apache Junction AZ as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations 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 amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Apache Junction AZ job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal 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 out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Apache Junction AZ hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Apache Junction AZ medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Apache Junction AZ medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Apache Junction AZ, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain 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 because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Apache Junction Arizona
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Apache Junction AZ.