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Become a Phlebotomist in Tucson Arizona

How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Tucson AZ

Tucson AZ phlebotomist drawing blood from patientPicking the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Tucson AZ is an important first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables 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 reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.

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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary

Tucson AZ phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Tucson AZ labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, including Tucson AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing

blood testing done in Tucson AZ labThere are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many 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, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomist Schools

Tucson Arizona student attending phlebotomy school onlineTo begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for some Tucson AZ students. As an added benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.

Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?

First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Tucson AZ medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect job for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools

Questions to ask Tucson AZ phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected 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 campus is significant if you will be commuting from Tucson AZ as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Tucson AZ job market.

What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist 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 all schools 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 research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with some Tucson AZ hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.

Is Adequate Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 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 comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Tucson AZ health care community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Tucson AZ healthcare community.

Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tucson AZ, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.

Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Tucson Arizona

Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tucson AZ.