How to Select the Best Phlebotomy School near Maricopa AZ
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Maricopa AZ is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In fact, many students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process also. 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 select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports 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 in fact work in Maricopa AZ labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Maricopa AZ hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Maricopa AZ employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the primary 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for some Maricopa AZ students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Maricopa AZ as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies 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 program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Maricopa AZ job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges 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 online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Maricopa AZ clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, 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 looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Maricopa AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Maricopa AZ medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even 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 should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Maricopa Arizona
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Maricopa AZ.