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Become a Phlebotomist in Tucson Arizona

How to Find the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Tucson AZ

Tucson AZ phlebotomy tech drawing bloodEnrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Tucson AZ is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many prospective students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local 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 checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.

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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary

Tucson AZ phlebotomy lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Tucson AZ laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, including Tucson AZ hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.

Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis done in Tucson AZ labThere are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, most Tucson AZ employers require certification before 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomist Online Classes

Tucson AZ woman attending phlebotomy training onlineTo begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the curriculum 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 component of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for many Tucson AZ students. As an added benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges

Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Tucson AZ as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, 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. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Tucson AZ job market.

What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Tucson AZ hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.

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

Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Tucson AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Tucson AZ healthcare community.

Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Tucson AZ, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

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Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Tucson Arizona

Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tucson AZ.