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Become a Phlebotomist in Alhambra California

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

Alhambra CA phlebotomist drawing bloodPicking the right phlebotomist training near Alhambra CA is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, most prospective students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.

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Phlebotomist Career Description

Alhambra CA phlebotomy lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Alhambra CA labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?

The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Alhambra CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis performed in Alhambra CA laboratoryThere are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate 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 offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, most Alhambra CA employers require certification before hiring 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist 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

Alhambra California woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for many Alhambra CA students. As an added benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.

Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?

Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Alhambra CA medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to 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 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 could be the right job for you.

Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges

What to ask Alhambra CA phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Alhambra CA as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Alhambra CA job market.

What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several Alhambra CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Plenty of Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Alhambra CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alhambra CA health care community.

Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alhambra CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.

Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Alhambra California

Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alhambra CA.