How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Lake Havasu City AZ
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist training near Lake Havasu City AZ is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes 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 cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Lake Havasu City AZ labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Lake Havasu City AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect 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 certain kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and furnishes 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 specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Lake Havasu City AZ employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the principal 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 few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for many Lake Havasu City AZ students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may 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 significant if you will be commuting from Lake Havasu City AZ in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Lake Havasu City AZ job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see 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 submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, contact 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 phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are reviewing 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 obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Lake Havasu City AZ medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire 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 positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Lake Havasu City AZ health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain 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.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking 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 training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Lake Havasu City AZ.