How to Select the Best Phlebotomist School near El Mirage AZ
Picking the ideal phlebotomy school near El Mirage AZ is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, many prospective students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing 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 conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in El Mirage AZ laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including El Mirage AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method 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 on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, most El Mirage AZ employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary certifying organizations 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for many El Mirage AZ students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other El Mirage AZ medical facilities, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from El Mirage AZ as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arizona? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets 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 College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the El Mirage AZ job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. 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 graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with several El Mirage AZ hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local El Mirage AZ medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the El Mirage AZ medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the final program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near El Mirage Arizona
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in El Mirage AZ.