How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist School near Flagstaff AZ
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Flagstaff AZ is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many potential students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby 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 checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. 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 select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Flagstaff AZ labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Flagstaff AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility 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 new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Flagstaff AZ employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for many Flagstaff AZ students. As an added benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (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 disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Flagstaff AZ as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arizona? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Flagstaff AZ job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Flagstaff AZ hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Flagstaff AZ healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Flagstaff AZ health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Flagstaff Arizona
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Flagstaff AZ.