How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Oro Valley AZ
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Oro Valley AZ is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, most prospective students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Oro Valley AZ labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Oro Valley AZ hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Oro Valley AZ employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Oro Valley AZ students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Oro Valley AZ medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights 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 right job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Oro Valley AZ in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. 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 programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arizona? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several 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 working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need 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 readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Oro Valley AZ job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Oro Valley AZ hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide 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 colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of 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 considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Oro Valley AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Oro Valley AZ health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Oro Valley AZ, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Oro Valley Arizona
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Oro Valley AZ.