How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Prescott Valley AZ
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy school near Prescott Valley AZ is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Prescott Valley AZ labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Prescott Valley AZ hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education as well as 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, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Prescott Valley AZ employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the primary 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 phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive 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. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for many Prescott Valley AZ students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Prescott Valley AZ in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arizona? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may have 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 organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, 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 numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any 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 assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Prescott Valley AZ hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing 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 reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Prescott Valley AZ healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to verify that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Prescott Valley AZ, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. 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 find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Prescott Valley Arizona
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Prescott Valley AZ.