How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Catalina Arizona
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist school near Catalina AZ is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, most students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might consider 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 remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection 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 select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Catalina AZ labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Catalina AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education as well as 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, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, most Catalina AZ employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
First, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical option for many Catalina AZ students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in 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 superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Catalina AZ as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, 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 premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Catalina AZ job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few Catalina AZ hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, contact the Arizona state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Catalina AZ health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Catalina AZ health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Catalina AZ, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Catalina AZ medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists often work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Choose the Best Catalina Phlebotomy School
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a number of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Catalina Arizona.