How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Tempe AZ
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Tempe AZ is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal 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 Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Tempe AZ labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Tempe AZ medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, most Tempe AZ employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Tempe AZ students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate 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 Tempe AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, such as 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 superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Tempe AZ job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist 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 schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several Tempe AZ clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Tempe AZ health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Tempe AZ health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Tempe AZ, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Tempe Arizona
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each college before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tempe AZ.