How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near San Tan Valley AZ
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school near San Tan Valley AZ is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select 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 training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in San Tan Valley AZ laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as San Tan Valley AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, most San Tan Valley AZ employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
First, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some San Tan Valley AZ students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other San Tan Valley AZ medical facilities, well this profession probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right profession for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. 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 tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing 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 practicing and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select 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 program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. 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 Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some San Tan Valley AZ clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local San Tan Valley AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the San Tan Valley AZ healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the final school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near San Tan Valley AZ, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near San Tan Valley Arizona
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in San Tan Valley AZ.