How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Course near Alhambra CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near Alhambra CA is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to 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 must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point 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 can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Alhambra CA labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Alhambra CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw 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 samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Alhambra CA employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the course of study 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 completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for many Alhambra CA students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may 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 college is relevant 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 college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. 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 prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized 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 school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive 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 phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact some Alhambra CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing 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 furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training often not provided 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 Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Alhambra CA health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alhambra CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Alhambra California
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ slightly across the country as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alhambra CA.