How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Lake Havasu City AZ
Choosing the right phlebotomy training near Lake Havasu City AZ is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In reality, most prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Lake Havasu City AZ labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Lake Havasu City AZ medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Lake Havasu City AZ employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the primary 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
First, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the course of study will be practical 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. However since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Lake Havasu City AZ students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Lake Havasu City 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 procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arizona? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and preps 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 national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Lake Havasu City AZ job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some 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 start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, 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 phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Lake Havasu City AZ health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Lake Havasu City AZ medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify 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 procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Lake Havasu City AZ.