How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Aliso Viejo CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomist school near Aliso Viejo CA is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Aliso Viejo CA labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to instruct 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 places are numerous and diverse, such as Aliso Viejo CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Aliso Viejo CA employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the main 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 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 enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for many Aliso Viejo CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Aliso Viejo CA medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Aliso Viejo CA as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Aliso Viejo CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Aliso Viejo CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Aliso Viejo CA medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Aliso Viejo CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Aliso Viejo CA, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, 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 completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Aliso Viejo California
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a wide range of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before 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 phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Aliso Viejo CA.