How to Find the Right Phlebotomy School near Alhambra CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Alhambra CA is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school options 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, a large number of prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers 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 in fact work in Alhambra CA laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Alhambra CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind 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 collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Alhambra CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main 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 phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
First, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed 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 attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Alhambra CA students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type 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 Alhambra CA in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior 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 organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Alhambra CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Alhambra CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training often not obtainable 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 also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Alhambra CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Alhambra CA, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Alhambra California
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alhambra CA.