How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Prescott Valley AZ
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Prescott Valley AZ is an important first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Prescott Valley AZ laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Prescott Valley AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing 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, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as 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 specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, many Prescott Valley AZ employers look for 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for many Prescott Valley AZ students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Prescott Valley AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Prescott Valley AZ job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few Prescott Valley AZ hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Prescott Valley AZ health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Prescott Valley AZ medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Prescott Valley AZ, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Prescott Valley Arizona
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Prescott Valley AZ.