How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Avondale AZ
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Avondale AZ is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Avondale AZ labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Avondale AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working 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, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in most states, most Avondale AZ employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for some Avondale AZ students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Avondale AZ as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arizona? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Avondale AZ job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Avondale 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 schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough 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 reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Avondale AZ medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Avondale AZ medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to verify that the final program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Avondale AZ, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Avondale Arizona
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a variety of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Avondale AZ.