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Become a Phlebotomist in Tucson Arizona

How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Tucson AZ

Tucson AZ phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientSelecting the right phlebotomy technician school near Tucson AZ is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should 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 cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.

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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary

Tucson AZ phlebotomist lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. 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 ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?

The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Tucson AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.

Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification

blood testing done in Tucson AZ labThere are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many Tucson AZ employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the main certifying organizations 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomist Schools

Tucson AZ woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the program of studies 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 completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Tucson AZ students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.

Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?

First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Tucson AZ medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools

Questions to ask Tucson AZ phlebotomy schoolsSince you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Tucson AZ in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often 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 Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. 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 online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Tucson AZ hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.

Is Enough 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 length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 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 provide sufficient training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Tucson AZ health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tucson AZ healthcare community.

Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work 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 on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.

Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Tucson Arizona

Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Tucson AZ.