How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Prescott AZ
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Prescott AZ is an important initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process 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 online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Prescott AZ laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and varied, including Prescott AZ hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Prescott AZ employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Prescott AZ students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Prescott AZ in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arizona? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Prescott AZ job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Prescott AZ clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with 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 phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Prescott AZ medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Prescott AZ healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Prescott AZ, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And 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 need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Prescott Arizona
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Prescott AZ.