How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Oro Valley AZ
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist training near Oro Valley AZ is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to assess and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, most prospective students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes 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 much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point 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 may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Oro Valley AZ laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Oro Valley AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, many Oro Valley AZ employers require certification before hiring 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Oro Valley AZ students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen 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 campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Oro Valley AZ as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arizona? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Oro Valley AZ job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with several Oro Valley AZ hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 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 provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Oro Valley AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing offer 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 program has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Oro Valley AZ healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to make sure that the final college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Oro Valley AZ, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify 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 completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Oro Valley Arizona
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Oro Valley AZ.