How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Tucson AZ
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Tucson AZ is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many prospective students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Tucson AZ labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Tucson AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, many Tucson AZ employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the main 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 phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Tucson AZ students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you want 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 tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. 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 making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select 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 school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination 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 programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Tucson AZ job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all schools 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 screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Tucson AZ hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At 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 practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added 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 Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Tucson AZ health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Tucson AZ, check that 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 attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Tucson Arizona
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tucson AZ.