How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy School near Gilbert AZ
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Gilbert AZ is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, most prospective students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection 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 evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Gilbert AZ laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Gilbert AZ hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally 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. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Gilbert AZ employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 some 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 imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Gilbert AZ students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
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 might have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Gilbert AZ as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arizona? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program 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 advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Gilbert AZ job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all schools 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 research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with several Gilbert AZ clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Gilbert AZ health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Gilbert AZ health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the final school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Gilbert Arizona
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each program before 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 ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Gilbert AZ.