How to Select the Best Phlebotomist School near Mesa AZ
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician training near Mesa AZ is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools 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 factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out in order 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 may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Mesa AZ laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Mesa AZ hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, many Mesa AZ employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the key 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for many Mesa AZ students. As an added benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Mesa AZ medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected 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 important if you will be commuting from Mesa AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. 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 prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Mesa AZ job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Mesa AZ clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. 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 below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Mesa AZ health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high 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 a substantial network of professional contacts within the Mesa AZ health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to verify that the final program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Mesa AZ, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And 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 protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Mesa Arizona
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutions, 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. Program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Mesa AZ.