How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Prescott AZ
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Prescott AZ is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, many potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools 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 closest or the cheapest 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 provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Prescott AZ labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Prescott AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in most states, a number of Prescott AZ employers require certification before 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Prescott AZ students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (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 disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Prescott AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might 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 preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to 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 agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Prescott AZ job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place 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 also. You can also talk to some Prescott AZ hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed 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 length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Prescott AZ health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Prescott AZ health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Prescott AZ, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, 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 completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Prescott Arizona
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a variety of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Prescott AZ.