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Become a Phlebotomist in Tucson Arizona

How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Tucson AZ

Tucson AZ phlebotomist drawing blood from patientChoosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Tucson AZ is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, a large number of students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest 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 provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.

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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description

Tucson AZ phlebotomy lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Tucson AZ laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?

The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Tucson AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting 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 on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis done in Tucson AZ laboratoryThere are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Tucson AZ employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees

Tucson Arizona woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Tucson AZ students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools

Since you now 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 picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Tucson AZ as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, for example 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 quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future 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 caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools 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 as well. You can even check with several Tucson AZ clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Tucson AZ health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tucson AZ medical community.

Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tucson AZ, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.

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Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Tucson Arizona

Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may vary slightly across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tucson AZ.