How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Tucson AZ
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Tucson AZ is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In reality, most prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should 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 afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Tucson AZ laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Tucson AZ hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, 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, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Tucson AZ employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few 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 California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out 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. But since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Tucson AZ students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). 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 obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Tucson AZ in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in 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 advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, 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 Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Tucson AZ clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Tucson AZ medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, 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 Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true 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 certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Tucson Arizona
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs 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 must diligently research and compare each program before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tucson AZ.