How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist School near Flagstaff AZ
Picking the ideal phlebotomy training near Flagstaff AZ is an important first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, many students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing 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 discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time 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 can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Flagstaff AZ laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Flagstaff AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, many Flagstaff AZ employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the main 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 California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
First, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Flagstaff AZ students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Topics 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 might have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, 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 program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing 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 require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Flagstaff AZ job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Flagstaff AZ hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Flagstaff AZ healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Flagstaff AZ medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure 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 Best Phlebotomist Training near Flagstaff Arizona
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Flagstaff AZ.