How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist School near Flagstaff AZ
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist training near Flagstaff AZ is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating 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 resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory 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 actually work in Flagstaff AZ labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Flagstaff AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and provides a general education as well as 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, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, many Flagstaff AZ employers require certification prior to 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical option for many Flagstaff AZ students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may 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. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Flagstaff AZ job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of 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 all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact some 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 submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, check with 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Flagstaff AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Flagstaff AZ health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Flagstaff Arizona
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling 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. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each college before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Flagstaff AZ.