How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Tucson AZ
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Tucson AZ is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In fact, most students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools 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 closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Tucson AZ laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Tucson AZ hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education together with 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 exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Tucson AZ employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Tucson AZ students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Tucson AZ medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Tucson AZ as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Tucson AZ job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start 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 ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Tucson AZ hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, 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 clinical and classroom. As 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 clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Tucson AZ health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tucson AZ healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Tucson AZ, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Tucson Arizona
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a wide range of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tucson AZ.