How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Alhambra CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Alhambra CA is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need 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 factors such as 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 need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly 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 can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Alhambra CA laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Alhambra CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, most Alhambra CA employers require certification prior to 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, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Alhambra CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Alhambra CA as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Alhambra CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates 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 also contact some Alhambra CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. 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 Enough Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Alhambra CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alhambra CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alhambra CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. 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 in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Alhambra California
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a number of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alhambra CA.