How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Avondale AZ
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Avondale AZ is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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 actually work in Avondale AZ laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Avondale AZ medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Avondale AZ employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the primary certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do call for 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 imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted 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 component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Avondale AZ students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Avondale AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Avondale AZ job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Avondale AZ hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, contact 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 phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Avondale AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher 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 an extensive network of professional contacts within the Avondale AZ medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic 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 Avondale AZ, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Avondale Arizona
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Avondale AZ.