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Become a Phlebotomist in Alhambra California

How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Alhambra CA

Alhambra CA phlebotomist drawing bloodPicking the right phlebotomist school near Alhambra CA is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Work Summary

Alhambra CA phlebotomist laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Alhambra CA laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?

The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Alhambra CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.

Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification

blood testing done in Alhambra CA laboratoryThere are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Alhambra CA employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomist Online Colleges

Alhambra California woman attending phlebotomy training onlineTo start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Alhambra CA students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.

Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?

Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Alhambra CA medical facilities, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it 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 right job for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs

Questions to ask Alhambra CA phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Alhambra CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided 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 concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Alhambra CA job market.

What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact several Alhambra CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest 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 complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Enough Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Alhambra CA health care community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Alhambra CA medical community.

Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially true if you choose 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 offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Alhambra California

Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking 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 achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alhambra CA.