How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Maricopa AZ
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Maricopa AZ is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might 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 a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Maricopa AZ laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Maricopa AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw 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 collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically 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 quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Maricopa AZ employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying organizations 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies 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 get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Maricopa AZ students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Maricopa AZ as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Maricopa AZ job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Maricopa AZ clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools 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 length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Maricopa AZ health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college 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 along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Maricopa AZ medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near Maricopa Arizona
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Maricopa AZ.