How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Lake Havasu City AZ
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Lake Havasu City AZ is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly completed 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 an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Lake Havasu City AZ labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, 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 drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest 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 to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Lake Havasu City AZ employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 require 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 imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Lake Havasu City AZ students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (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 disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked 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 college is important if you will be commuting from Lake Havasu City AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might 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 any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, for example 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. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Lake Havasu City AZ job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Lake Havasu City AZ clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest 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 ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Lake Havasu City AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Lake Havasu City AZ healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each program before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Lake Havasu City AZ.