How to Select the Right Phlebotomist School near Phoenix AZ
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy school near Phoenix AZ is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far 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 must be part of your selection process as well. 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 choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Phoenix AZ labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Phoenix AZ medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home 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 exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and offers 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 specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Phoenix AZ employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum 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. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Phoenix AZ students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, few people probably 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 chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Phoenix AZ medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care 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 don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on 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 campus is important if you will be commuting from Phoenix AZ in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable 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 schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Phoenix AZ clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Phoenix AZ health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Phoenix AZ health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Phoenix Arizona
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Phoenix AZ.