How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near San Tan Valley AZ
Picking the right phlebotomist training near San Tan Valley AZ is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing 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 Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in San Tan Valley AZ labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including San Tan Valley AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many San Tan Valley AZ employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying agencies 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 handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some San Tan Valley AZ students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might 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 school is relevant if you will be commuting from San Tan Valley AZ as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final 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. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree 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 Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few San Tan Valley AZ clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local San Tan Valley AZ health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering offer 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 college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the San Tan Valley AZ medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, make sure 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 practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near San Tan Valley Arizona
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in San Tan Valley AZ.