How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Phoenix AZ
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Phoenix AZ is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Phoenix AZ labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Phoenix AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific 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 mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Phoenix AZ employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying organizations 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Phoenix AZ students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Phoenix AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Phoenix AZ job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Phoenix AZ hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy 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 less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Phoenix AZ medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Phoenix AZ health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, check that 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 attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Phoenix Arizona
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist 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 asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Phoenix AZ.