How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Maricopa AZ
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist training near Maricopa AZ is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish 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 then resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Maricopa AZ laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Maricopa AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type 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 solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually 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 method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Maricopa AZ employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the main 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Maricopa AZ students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make certain 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 clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type 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 in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing 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 need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arizona? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, 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 phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Maricopa AZ hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer 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 schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Maricopa AZ health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Maricopa AZ healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Maricopa AZ, make sure they are offered 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 practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Maricopa Arizona
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can differ slightly across the country as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each school before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Maricopa AZ.