How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Lake Havasu City AZ
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy training near Lake Havasu City AZ is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, most prospective students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Lake Havasu City AZ labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Lake Havasu City AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, most Lake Havasu City AZ employers require 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out 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 component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for some Lake Havasu City AZ students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. 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 comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on 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 campus is important if you will be commuting from Lake Havasu City AZ as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each 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 a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arizona? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Lake Havasu City AZ job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with several Lake Havasu City AZ clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Lake Havasu City AZ medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Lake Havasu City AZ medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to still work while attending school. If you need to 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, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Lake Havasu City AZ.