How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Mesa AZ
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Mesa AZ is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing 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 continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Mesa AZ laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Mesa AZ medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Mesa AZ employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the main 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for some Mesa AZ students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in 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 means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy 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 may have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Mesa AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are an important 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 a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and preps 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 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 school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Mesa AZ job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with some Mesa AZ hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Mesa AZ health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job 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 rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Mesa AZ medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Mesa AZ, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Mesa Arizona
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary slightly across the country as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Mesa AZ.