How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy School near Gilbert AZ
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician school near Gilbert AZ is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, most potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Gilbert AZ laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Gilbert AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under 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 exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive 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 Gilbert AZ employers require certification prior to 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one likely 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 on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Gilbert AZ students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start 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 campus is important if you will be commuting from Gilbert AZ as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, 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. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Gilbert AZ job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with some Gilbert AZ clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Gilbert AZ health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Gilbert AZ medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Gilbert Arizona
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Gilbert AZ.