How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Flagstaff AZ
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Flagstaff AZ is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online 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 comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should 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 choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Flagstaff AZ laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Flagstaff AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less 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 get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Flagstaff AZ employers require certification before employing technicians. Some 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 a few states that do call for 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 select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be clinical 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 prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for some Flagstaff AZ students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant 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 phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical part 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 all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Flagstaff AZ job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important 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 reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Flagstaff AZ hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with 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 phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Flagstaff AZ healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Flagstaff AZ medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to verify that the final program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work while attending school. If you need to 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 on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Flagstaff Arizona
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a wide range of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Flagstaff AZ.