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Become a Phlebotomist in San Tan Valley Arizona

How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near San Tan Valley AZ

San Tan Valley AZ phlebotomy tech drawing bloodSelecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school near San Tan Valley AZ is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, many students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes 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 factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Work Summary

San Tan Valley AZ phlebotomy laboratory techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in San Tan Valley AZ labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?

The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as San Tan Valley AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis done in San Tan Valley AZ labThere are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of San Tan Valley 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees

San Tan Valley Arizona student attending phlebotomy training onlineFirst, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out 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 can be a more convenient option for many San Tan Valley AZ students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.

Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools

Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from San Tan Valley AZ as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the San Tan Valley AZ job market.

What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. 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 reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact some San Tan Valley AZ hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.

Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local San Tan Valley AZ medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the San Tan Valley AZ health care community.

Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near San Tan Valley Arizona

San Tan Valley AZ phlebotomy lab blood testingMaking certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in San Tan Valley AZ.