How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Aliso Viejo CA
Picking the right phlebotomist training near Aliso Viejo CA is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Aliso Viejo CA labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Aliso Viejo CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, a number of Aliso Viejo CA employers look for certification prior to employing 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for some Aliso Viejo CA students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive 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 attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Aliso Viejo CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. 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 practicing and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Aliso Viejo CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. 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 rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Aliso Viejo 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 contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, 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 looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Aliso Viejo CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position 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 rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Aliso Viejo CA health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Aliso Viejo CA, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Aliso Viejo California
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a number of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Aliso Viejo CA.