How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Aliso Viejo CA
Picking the right phlebotomist training near Aliso Viejo CA is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, a large number of students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into 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 you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process also. 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 select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. 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 in fact work in Aliso Viejo CA laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Aliso Viejo CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Aliso Viejo CA employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying agencies 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for many Aliso Viejo CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
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 might have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Aliso Viejo CA as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school 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 many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Aliso Viejo CA job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Aliso Viejo CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing 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 Adequate Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Aliso Viejo CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Aliso Viejo CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Aliso Viejo CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain 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 Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Aliso Viejo California
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Aliso Viejo CA.