How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Tucson AZ
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Tucson AZ is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most prospective students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Tucson AZ laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Tucson AZ medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming 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 extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Tucson AZ employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the key certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Tucson AZ students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Tucson AZ medical facilities, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on 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 significant if you will be commuting from Tucson AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical part 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 need to ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist 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 have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable 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 those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few 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 check with the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at 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 signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Tucson AZ medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Tucson AZ healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to verify that the final program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Tucson AZ, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Tucson Arizona
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tucson AZ.