How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist School near El Mirage AZ
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near El Mirage AZ is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, many potential students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local 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 comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should 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 address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time 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 can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in El Mirage AZ laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including El Mirage AZ medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four 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 the majority of states, a number of El Mirage AZ employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the key certifying organizations 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for some El Mirage AZ students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from El Mirage AZ as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the El Mirage AZ job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact some El Mirage AZ clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local El Mirage AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the El Mirage AZ medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure 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 as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near El Mirage Arizona
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each school prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in El Mirage AZ.