How to Select the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near El Mirage AZ
Picking the right phlebotomy technician school near El Mirage AZ is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in El Mirage AZ labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as El Mirage AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides 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. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of El Mirage AZ employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the principal 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 phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the curriculum will be practical 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 prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for many El Mirage AZ students. As an added benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify 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 online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you want 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 in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, such as 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 is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the El Mirage AZ job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with some El Mirage AZ hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough 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 classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local El Mirage AZ health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the El Mirage AZ medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near El Mirage Arizona
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in El Mirage AZ.