How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Course near Alhambra CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Alhambra CA is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal 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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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly 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 may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Alhambra CA laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, including Alhambra CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Alhambra CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be clinical 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 in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient option for many Alhambra CA students. As an added benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a medical 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 anxious in hospitals or other Alhambra CA medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably 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 could be the perfect job for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type 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. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium 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 agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Alhambra CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, 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 start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Alhambra CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing 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 Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Alhambra CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Alhambra CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night 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. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Alhambra California
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alhambra CA.