How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist School near Alhambra CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Alhambra CA is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In fact, most potential students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly 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 lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Alhambra CA laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and diverse, including Alhambra CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in most states, many Alhambra CA employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Alhambra CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Alhambra CA in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Alhambra CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of 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 important 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 place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Alhambra CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, contact 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Alhambra CA medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Alhambra CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Alhambra CA, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Alhambra California
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy 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 are offered in a wide range of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alhambra CA.