Picking a Phlebotomy Technician Course in Arizona
Picking the ideal phlebotomy school in Arizona is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it’s necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many prospective students start their search by considering two 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 remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let’s cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient’s information. Next, paperwork must be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many Arizona phlebotomists actually work in labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren’t sufficient duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Arizona hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training in Arizona, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides 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 incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, most 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, 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 supplies a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let’s resolve one likely misconception. You can’t obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for many students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it’s time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the Arizona campus is important as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have 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 practicing and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges in Arizona. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the job market.
What is the School’s Reputation? In numerous 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 investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Arizona local clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with the Arizona regulator or 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 phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the Arizona colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Arizona health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it’s an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Arizona medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it’s critical to confirm that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic 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 in Arizona, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Select the Best Phlebotomy College in Arizona
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy 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 a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal school for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Arizona.