How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Course near Flagstaff AZ
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Flagstaff AZ is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, many potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. 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 in fact work in Flagstaff AZ laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Flagstaff AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, a number of Flagstaff AZ employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Flagstaff AZ students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Flagstaff AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arizona? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium 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 agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Flagstaff AZ job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact several Flagstaff AZ clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient 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 length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Flagstaff AZ medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning 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 health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain 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 due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Flagstaff Arizona
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a wide range of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can differ a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each program before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Flagstaff AZ.