How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Training Course near Prescott AZ
Picking the right phlebotomy technician school near Prescott AZ is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may look into 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 closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Prescott AZ laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Prescott AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing 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 collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, many Prescott AZ employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key 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, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Prescott AZ students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Prescott AZ in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits 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 qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Prescott AZ job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students 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 also talk to several Prescott AZ clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, 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 phlebotomy 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 below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Prescott AZ healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate 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 a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Prescott AZ healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prescott AZ, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Prescott Arizona
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Prescott AZ.