How to Find the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Flagstaff AZ
Picking the ideal phlebotomy school near Flagstaff AZ is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, most students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly completed in order 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Flagstaff AZ labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Flagstaff AZ medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Flagstaff AZ employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying agencies 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, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted 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 portion of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for some Flagstaff AZ students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a medical 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 anxious in hospitals or other Flagstaff AZ medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might 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 campus is important if you will be commuting from Flagstaff AZ in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example 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 superior education. First, 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 getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Flagstaff AZ job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates 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 check with some Flagstaff AZ clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Flagstaff AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent 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 verify that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. 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 find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Flagstaff Arizona
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Flagstaff AZ.