How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Surprise AZ
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Surprise AZ is an important initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Surprise AZ labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and varied, such as Surprise AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate 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 provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Surprise AZ employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed 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. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Surprise AZ students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Surprise AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arizona? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several 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 phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example 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 superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Surprise AZ job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with several Surprise AZ hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Surprise AZ medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school 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 an extensive network of professional contacts within the Surprise AZ health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Surprise AZ, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Surprise Arizona
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit 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 diligently evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Surprise AZ.