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Become a Phlebotomist in Tucson Arizona

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

Tucson AZ phlebotomy tech drawing bloodPicking the ideal phlebotomist training near Tucson AZ is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.

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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description

Tucson AZ phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Tucson AZ labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?

The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, such as Tucson AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.

Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification

blood testing done in Tucson AZ laboratoryThere are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Tucson AZ employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 some states that do require 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 important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomist Online Schools

Tucson Arizona woman attending phlebotomy school onlineFirst, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed 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 portion of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient option for many Tucson AZ students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). 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 attaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs

Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Tucson AZ in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Tucson AZ job market.

What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Tucson AZ clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer 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 schools are in full compliance.

Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Tucson AZ health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Tucson AZ healthcare community.

Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to college. 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, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.

Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Tucson Arizona

Tucson AZ phlebotomy laboratory blood analysisMaking certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an essential 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 school. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can vary slightly across the country as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Tucson AZ.