How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy School near Lake Havasu City AZ
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Lake Havasu City AZ is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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 actually work in Lake Havasu City AZ labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, including Lake Havasu City AZ medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in most states, most Lake Havasu City AZ employers look for certification prior to employing 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Lake Havasu City AZ students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive 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 attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Lake Havasu City AZ medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right profession for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Lake Havasu City AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arizona? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Lake Havasu City AZ job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with some Lake Havasu City AZ hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Lake Havasu City AZ health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Lake Havasu City AZ healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true 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 certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. 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 ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Lake Havasu City AZ.