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Become a Phlebotomist in Alhambra California

How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Alhambra CA

Alhambra CA phlebotomist drawing blood from patientSelecting the right phlebotomist school near Alhambra CA is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, many potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.

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Phlebotomist Work Summary

Alhambra CA phlebotomist laboratory techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be properly filled out to be able 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 may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Alhambra CA labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Alhambra CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing

blood testing performed in Alhambra CA laboratoryThere are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually 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 phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, many Alhambra CA 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomist Online Schools

Alhambra California student attending phlebotomy school onlineFirst, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component 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. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Alhambra CA students. As an added benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you select 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 disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.

Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?

First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Alhambra CA medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.

Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools

Questions to ask Alhambra CA phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Alhambra CA in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable 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 a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Alhambra CA job market.

What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with several Alhambra CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Ample Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Alhambra CA health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Alhambra CA medical community.

Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alhambra CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify 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 find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.

Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Alhambra California

Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, 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 achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alhambra CA.