How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Oro Valley AZ
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Oro Valley AZ is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first 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 review 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 need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select 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 Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Oro Valley AZ laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Oro Valley AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Oro Valley AZ employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Oro Valley AZ students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected 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 campus is important if you will be commuting from Oro Valley AZ in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Oro Valley AZ job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact some Oro Valley AZ hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Oro Valley AZ health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Oro Valley AZ healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Oro Valley AZ, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Oro Valley Arizona
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each school before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Oro Valley AZ.