How to Select the Best Phlebotomy School near Bullhead City AZ
Selecting the right phlebotomist school near Bullhead City AZ is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most students start their search by looking at 2 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 an area campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation 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 need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Bullhead City AZ labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Bullhead City AZ hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and offers a general 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 specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in most states, most Bullhead City AZ employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key certifying agencies 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 phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical option for many Bullhead City AZ students. As an added benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist 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 might have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Bullhead City AZ as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arizona? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before 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 phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Bullhead City AZ job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many 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 out the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Bullhead City AZ clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Bullhead City AZ health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Bullhead City AZ healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Bullhead City AZ, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Bullhead City Arizona
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a number of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each program 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 phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Bullhead City AZ.