How to Select the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Gilbert AZ
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy school near Gilbert AZ is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, many prospective students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest 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 evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Gilbert AZ labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Gilbert AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two 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 get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Gilbert AZ employers require certification before 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for many Gilbert AZ students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). 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 attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, 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 mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Gilbert AZ as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. 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 preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected 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 in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Gilbert AZ job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many 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 imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Gilbert AZ hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest 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 grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 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 sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Gilbert AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Gilbert AZ healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Gilbert Arizona
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may vary slightly from state to state as each 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 program prior to making your final selection. 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 appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Gilbert AZ.