How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Maricopa AZ
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Maricopa AZ is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In fact, many students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may 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 far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. 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 pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Maricopa AZ labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Maricopa AZ hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, 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. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers 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, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Maricopa AZ employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Maricopa AZ students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist 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 obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Maricopa AZ in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arizona? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available 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 Maricopa AZ job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Maricopa AZ hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full 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 classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training often 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 Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot 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, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Maricopa AZ healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate college you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Maricopa Arizona
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Maricopa AZ.