How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near San Tan Valley AZ
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician training near San Tan Valley AZ is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In fact, many potential students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in San Tan Valley AZ labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including San Tan Valley AZ medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic 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, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, many San Tan Valley AZ employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing 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 readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some San Tan Valley AZ students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this means 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.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from San Tan Valley AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national 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 a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the San Tan Valley AZ job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact several San Tan Valley AZ hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate 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 no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local San Tan Valley AZ health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the San Tan Valley AZ medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. 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 protocol is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near San Tan Valley Arizona
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a wide range of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in San Tan Valley AZ.