How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist School near Casa Grande AZ
Picking the right phlebotomist training near Casa Grande AZ is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option 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 you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed 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 tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Casa Grande AZ labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Casa Grande AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Casa Grande AZ employers look for certification prior to employing 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 a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Casa Grande AZ students. As an added benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
What 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 selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Casa Grande AZ as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Casa Grande AZ job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Casa Grande AZ hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Casa Grande AZ healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Casa Grande AZ medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Casa Grande AZ, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, 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 find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Casa Grande Arizona
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Casa Grande AZ.