How to Find the Right Phlebotomy School near San Tan Valley AZ
Picking the right phlebotomy technician school near San Tan Valley AZ is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many potential students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will furnish 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 then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in San Tan Valley AZ laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as San Tan Valley AZ medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available 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 required in most states, most San Tan Valley AZ employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get 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 completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many San Tan Valley AZ students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from San Tan Valley AZ as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the San Tan Valley AZ job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. 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 screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with a few San Tan Valley AZ clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, contact 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 phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local San Tan Valley AZ healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the San Tan Valley AZ healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. 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 San Tan Valley AZ, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near San Tan Valley Arizona
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may vary a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in San Tan Valley AZ.