How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Prescott Valley AZ
Picking the right phlebotomy technician school near Prescott Valley AZ is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Prescott Valley AZ labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Prescott Valley AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, most Prescott Valley AZ employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the primary certifying organizations 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 phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Prescott Valley AZ students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college 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 obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Prescott Valley AZ medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists often work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and 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 Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you wish 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 Prescott Valley AZ as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Prescott Valley AZ job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Prescott Valley AZ clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Prescott Valley AZ health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school 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? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prescott Valley 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 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 policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Prescott Valley Arizona
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Prescott Valley AZ.