How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Lake Havasu City AZ
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Lake Havasu City AZ is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors 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 furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Lake Havasu City AZ laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many Lake Havasu City AZ employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key 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, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Lake Havasu City AZ students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy 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 approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked 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 Lake Havasu City AZ as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded 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 program aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Lake Havasu City AZ job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer 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 as well. You can even talk to some Lake Havasu City AZ clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, 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 clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Lake Havasu City AZ healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Lake Havasu City AZ health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure 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.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a number of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Lake Havasu City AZ.