How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near San Tan Valley AZ
Selecting the right phlebotomy school near San Tan Valley AZ is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out 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 tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in San Tan Valley AZ laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as San Tan Valley AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a general education together 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 specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many San Tan Valley AZ employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for many San Tan Valley AZ students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important 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 online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the San Tan Valley AZ job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some San Tan Valley AZ hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local San Tan Valley AZ medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the San Tan Valley AZ healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to verify that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to 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 part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near San Tan Valley Arizona
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By asking 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 proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in San Tan Valley AZ.