How to Choose the Right One Near Flagstaff Arizona
A critical first step one must take to enter the fulfilling healthcare vocation of phlebotomy is to choose the best phlebotomy school near Flagstaff AZ. There are numerous training programs available to you and it might seem like a daunting task to investigate and analyze each one. Notwithstanding, to guarantee that you receive a first-rate education you must perform a detailed audit before making your decision. More often than not the two qualifications that initially come to mind for student applicants are where the school is located and how much the tuition is. And if you will commute to classes or attend them online is an option you need to consider as well. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. So when assessing phlebotomy training courses, location and cost must not be the sole criteria you are looking at. Finding out if the program is accredited or if the school has a job assistance program must also be included in your evaluation process. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Flagstaff AZ laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many Flagstaff AZ employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the primary 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for some Flagstaff AZ students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Flagstaff AZ as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in 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 benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Flagstaff AZ job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Flagstaff AZ hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact 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 phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 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 offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Flagstaff AZ healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Flagstaff AZ health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to verify that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Flagstaff Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Flagstaff Arizona.