How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Flagstaff Arizona
Choosing the right phlebotomy training near Flagstaff AZ is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, a large number of students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly 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 may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Flagstaff AZ laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Flagstaff AZ medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting 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 practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Flagstaff AZ employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying agencies 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, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted 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. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Flagstaff AZ students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Flagstaff AZ as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Flagstaff AZ job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Flagstaff AZ clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact the Arizona state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Flagstaff AZ medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Flagstaff AZ healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. 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 policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Flagstaff AZ medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, 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 right profession for you.
Pick the Right Flagstaff Phlebotomist Program
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can differ a bit across the country as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Flagstaff Arizona.