How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Course near Flagstaff AZ
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy training near Flagstaff AZ is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point 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 screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Flagstaff AZ labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Flagstaff AZ hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Flagstaff AZ employers require certification before employing technicians. Some 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 California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for many Flagstaff AZ students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. 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 online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Flagstaff AZ as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable 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 phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Flagstaff AZ clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide 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 Enough Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Flagstaff AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Flagstaff AZ healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Flagstaff Arizona
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each program before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Flagstaff AZ.