How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist School near Sierra Vista AZ
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Sierra Vista AZ is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, many potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Sierra Vista AZ laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, including Sierra Vista AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Sierra Vista AZ employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the principal 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Sierra Vista AZ students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Sierra Vista AZ in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Sierra Vista AZ job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Sierra Vista AZ hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, 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 looking at should furnish at least 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 expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Sierra Vista AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Sierra Vista AZ healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Sierra Vista AZ, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Sierra Vista Arizona
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling 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 certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Sierra Vista AZ.