How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Prescott Valley AZ
Selecting the right phlebotomist school near Prescott Valley AZ is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, many prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Prescott Valley AZ laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Prescott Valley AZ medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in most states, a number of Prescott Valley AZ employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the main certifying agencies 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Prescott Valley AZ students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Prescott Valley AZ as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arizona? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded 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 school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Prescott Valley AZ job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several Prescott Valley AZ clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? 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 provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Prescott Valley AZ health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college 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 together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Prescott Valley AZ health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prescott Valley AZ, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Prescott Valley Arizona
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a variety of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Prescott Valley AZ.