How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Flagstaff AZ
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Flagstaff AZ is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective 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 might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing 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 discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Flagstaff AZ laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Flagstaff AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education along 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 phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Flagstaff AZ employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the main 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some Flagstaff AZ students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Flagstaff AZ medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and 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 right profession for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, 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 certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Flagstaff AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are 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 Specific to Arizona? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws 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 amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies 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 School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree 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 many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact several Flagstaff AZ clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Flagstaff AZ health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Flagstaff AZ healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Flagstaff Arizona
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Flagstaff AZ.