How to Select the Right Phlebotomist Training Course near Alhambra CA
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Alhambra CA is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In reality, many prospective students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly 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 in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Alhambra CA labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Alhambra CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Alhambra CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion 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. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for some Alhambra CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of 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 phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Alhambra CA medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Alhambra CA as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need 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 working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages 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 be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Alhambra CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Alhambra CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Alhambra CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alhambra CA medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alhambra CA, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Alhambra California
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alhambra CA.