How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Classes near Alhambra CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Alhambra CA is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. 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 select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. 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 labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, including Alhambra CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. 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. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many Alhambra CA employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies 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 few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Alhambra CA students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality 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 best option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind 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 as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements 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 hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Alhambra CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. 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 screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Alhambra CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough 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 classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Alhambra CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alhambra CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while attending school. 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, verify 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 in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Alhambra California
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alhambra CA.