How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Tucson AZ
Picking the ideal phlebotomy school near Tucson AZ is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, most students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Tucson AZ labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Tucson AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, many Tucson AZ employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the primary certifying agencies 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, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical option for many Tucson AZ students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Tucson AZ as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school 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 a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Tucson AZ job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Tucson AZ hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Tucson AZ medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, 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 healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to make sure that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tucson AZ, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Tucson Arizona
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently screen and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tucson AZ.