How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Tucson AZ
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near Tucson AZ is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local 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 far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time 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 Tucson AZ labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Tucson AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with 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 include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Tucson AZ employers require certification before employing technicians. Some 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 a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Tucson AZ students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school 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 quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you want 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 Tucson AZ as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Tucson AZ job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools 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 research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several Tucson AZ hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer 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 full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working 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 looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Tucson AZ health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Tucson AZ health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to verify that the final school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tucson AZ, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study 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 as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Tucson Arizona
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each school before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tucson AZ.