How to Enroll in the Right One Near Phoenix Arizona
Perhaps the most important decision you must make to enter the rewarding healthcare vocation of phlebotomy is to select the best phlebotomy school near Phoenix AZ. There are numerous training options that are offered in your area and it might seem like an intimidating undertaking to investigate and compare each one. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many potential students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Whether you will commute to classes or attend them online is an option you need to consider as well. Online schools will be covered in greater detail a bit later. What you need to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Researching if the program is accredited or if the school has a job placement program must also be part of your due diligence process. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Phoenix AZ hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Phoenix AZ employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical 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 in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Phoenix AZ students. As an added benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior 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.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Training Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Phoenix AZ in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important component 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 need to ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist 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 have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Phoenix AZ job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools 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 screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Phoenix AZ hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arizona school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish 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 furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Phoenix AZ medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Phoenix AZ health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure 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 fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phoenix Phlebotomist Training Program
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Phoenix Arizona.