How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Classes near Alhambra CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Alhambra CA is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many potential students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Alhambra CA laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including 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 toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Alhambra CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the primary certifying agencies 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Alhambra CA students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Alhambra CA medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect job for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen 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 college is relevant if you will be commuting from Alhambra CA in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Alhambra CA job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Alhambra CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. 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 practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Alhambra CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Alhambra CA health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while going to 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. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical 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 as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Alhambra California
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alhambra CA.