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Become a Phlebotomist in Alhambra California

How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Alhambra CA

Alhambra CA phlebotomy tech drawing bloodSelecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Alhambra CA is an essential 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 accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out 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 selection process as well. Toward that end, 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 then resume our discussion about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Career Summary

Alhambra CA phlebotomy laboratory techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, 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 has to check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point 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 may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Alhambra CA labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomists Employed?

The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Alhambra CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis performed in Alhambra CA labThere are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Alhambra CA employers require certification before employing 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomist Online Colleges

Alhambra California woman attending phlebotomy training onlineTo begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Alhambra CA students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, 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 phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality 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 securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree 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 a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. 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 submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Alhambra CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alhambra CA healthcare community.

Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Alhambra CA, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.

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Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Alhambra California

Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a wide range of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently screen and compare each program before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alhambra CA.