How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy School near Gilbert AZ
Picking the right phlebotomy technician school near Gilbert AZ is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes 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 variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main 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 has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Gilbert AZ laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including 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 babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Gilbert AZ employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the primary certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for some Gilbert AZ students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you choose 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 dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind 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 significant if you will be commuting from Gilbert AZ as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy 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 several 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 examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Gilbert AZ job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with some Gilbert AZ hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with 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. 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 lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Gilbert AZ medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Gilbert AZ health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final college you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even 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 should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Gilbert Arizona
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Gilbert AZ.