How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Alhambra CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy school near Alhambra CA is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do 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 factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Alhambra CA laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Alhambra CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible 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 required in the majority of states, most Alhambra CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the principal 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for some Alhambra CA students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Alhambra CA medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Alhambra CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select 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 aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing 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 attractive to prospective employers in the Alhambra CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact some Alhambra CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length 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 (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Alhambra CA medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Alhambra CA health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alhambra CA, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Alhambra California
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may differ a bit across the country as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each program before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alhambra CA.