How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy School near Chandler AZ
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician training near Chandler AZ is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Chandler AZ laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Chandler AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, 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.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Chandler AZ employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Chandler AZ students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, 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 mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Chandler AZ as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected 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 aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination 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 college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Chandler AZ job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with a few Chandler AZ hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Chandler AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Chandler AZ health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Chandler AZ, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. 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 policy is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Chandler Arizona
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a number of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each program before 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 ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Chandler AZ.