How to Select the Best Phlebotomist School near Prescott AZ
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist training near Prescott AZ is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, most potential students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far 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 should be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to 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 conversation about online training.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing 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 labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Prescott AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Prescott AZ employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical option for some Prescott AZ students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
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 may have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Prescott AZ as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national 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 an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Prescott AZ job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Prescott AZ hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Prescott AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Prescott AZ healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to make sure that the final school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Prescott AZ, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend 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 need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Prescott Arizona
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully research and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Prescott AZ.