How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist School near Apache Junction AZ
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Apache Junction AZ is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot 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 must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Apache Junction AZ labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Apache Junction AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Apache Junction AZ employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the key 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for some Apache Junction AZ students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right 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 begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Apache Junction AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential 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 colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Apache Junction AZ clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Apache Junction AZ health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Apache Junction AZ healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Apache Junction AZ, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. 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 ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Apache Junction Arizona
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Apache Junction AZ.