How to Find the Right Phlebotomist School near Tucson AZ
Picking the ideal phlebotomist school near Tucson AZ is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Tucson AZ labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Tucson AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, many Tucson AZ employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the key certifying organizations 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part 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. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Tucson AZ students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (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 disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Tucson AZ in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arizona? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College 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 program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Tucson AZ job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, 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 schools 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 online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Tucson AZ hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Tucson AZ healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tucson AZ health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Tucson AZ, make certain they are offered 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 attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Tucson Arizona
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tucson AZ.