How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Maricopa AZ
Selecting the right phlebotomy school near Maricopa AZ is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers 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 in fact work in Maricopa AZ labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Maricopa AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming 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 extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, most Maricopa AZ employers require 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
First, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the course of study 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 portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for some Maricopa AZ students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected 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 relevant if you will be commuting from Maricopa AZ as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select 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 in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Maricopa AZ job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Maricopa AZ hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Maricopa AZ health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage 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 an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Maricopa AZ health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify 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 policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Maricopa Arizona
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a wide range of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can differ a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Maricopa AZ.