How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Tucson AZ
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Tucson AZ is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, most students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Tucson AZ laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and varied, including Tucson AZ medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older 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 environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education as well as 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 specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Tucson AZ employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Tucson AZ students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (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 attaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked 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 school is significant if you will be commuting from Tucson AZ in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. 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 practicing and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected 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 program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Tucson AZ job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Tucson AZ clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, 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 classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are considering 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 available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Tucson AZ health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tucson AZ healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tucson AZ, make certain they are available 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 attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Tucson Arizona
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a number of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each program before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tucson AZ.