How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes 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 daunting task to analyze and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Tucson AZ labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality control 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 are Phlebotomists Employed?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and varied, such as Tucson AZ medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Tucson AZ employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some 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 a few 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 furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for many Tucson AZ students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Tucson AZ in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets 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 school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future 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 those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Tucson AZ clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Tucson AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tucson AZ healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Tucson AZ, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Tucson Arizona
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tucson AZ.