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Become a Phlebotomist in Tucson Arizona

How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Classes near Tucson AZ

Tucson AZ phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientPicking the ideal phlebotomist school near Tucson AZ is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In reality, many prospective students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need 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 should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.

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Phlebotomist Work Summary

Tucson AZ phlebotomy lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Tucson AZ labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Tucson AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.

Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis performed in Tucson AZ laboratoryThere are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in most states, most Tucson AZ employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees

Tucson AZ woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Tucson AZ students. As an added benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.

Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?

First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Tucson AZ medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and 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 right job for you.

Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs

Questions to ask Tucson AZ phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Tucson AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Tucson AZ job market.

What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact some Tucson AZ hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.

Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.

Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Tucson AZ medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much 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 most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Tucson AZ health care community.

Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Tucson AZ, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. 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 find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.

Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Tucson Arizona

Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a number of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tucson AZ.