How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Flagstaff AZ
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Flagstaff AZ is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first 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 talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Flagstaff AZ labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Flagstaff AZ medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively 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, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education along with 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 incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Flagstaff AZ employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out 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. However since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for many Flagstaff AZ students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Flagstaff AZ in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Flagstaff AZ job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some 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 start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Flagstaff AZ hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Flagstaff AZ health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority 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 Flagstaff AZ health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Flagstaff Arizona
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Flagstaff AZ.