How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Prescott Valley AZ
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist training near Prescott Valley AZ is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Prescott Valley AZ labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree 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 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 take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Prescott Valley AZ employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the main 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Prescott Valley AZ students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you choose 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 superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Prescott Valley AZ medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen 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 school is relevant if you will be commuting from Prescott Valley AZ as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example 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 superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive 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 phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Prescott Valley AZ clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, check with 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Prescott Valley AZ medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Prescott Valley AZ medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to verify that the final school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prescott Valley AZ, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure 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 Right Phlebotomist Training near Prescott Valley Arizona
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Prescott Valley AZ.