How to Find the Best Phlebotomist School near San Tan Valley AZ
Picking the right phlebotomy training near San Tan Valley AZ is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, a large number of students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit 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 finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in San Tan Valley AZ laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including San Tan Valley AZ hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, most San Tan Valley AZ employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the key certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
First, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for some San Tan Valley AZ students. As an added benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from San Tan Valley AZ as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable 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 school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the San Tan Valley AZ job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. 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 internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with some San Tan Valley AZ clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. 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 clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local San Tan Valley AZ healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the San Tan Valley AZ medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final college you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near San Tan Valley Arizona
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in San Tan Valley AZ.