How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Sierra Vista AZ
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist training near Sierra Vista AZ is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision 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 assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out to be able 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 tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Sierra Vista AZ laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Sierra Vista AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Sierra Vista AZ employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the main 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for many Sierra Vista AZ students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Sierra Vista AZ medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind 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 significant if you will be commuting from Sierra Vista AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Sierra Vista AZ job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few Sierra Vista AZ clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, 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 phlebotomist 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 below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Sierra Vista AZ health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Sierra Vista AZ healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sierra Vista AZ, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And 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 need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Sierra Vista Arizona
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several 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, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each school prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Sierra Vista AZ.