How to Select the Right Phlebotomy School near Tucson AZ
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy training near Tucson AZ is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot 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 must be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Tucson AZ laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Tucson AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, most Tucson AZ employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the key 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, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for many Tucson AZ students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Tucson AZ as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. 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 practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Tucson AZ job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Tucson AZ hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. 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 less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional 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 Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Tucson AZ healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Tucson AZ, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify 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 find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Tucson Arizona
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tucson AZ.