How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Aliso Viejo CA
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Aliso Viejo CA is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most potential students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area 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 closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, 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 prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Aliso Viejo CA laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Aliso Viejo CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Aliso Viejo CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the principal 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Aliso Viejo CA students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Aliso Viejo CA as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Aliso Viejo CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Aliso Viejo CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Aliso Viejo CA medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Aliso Viejo CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Aliso Viejo CA, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Aliso Viejo California
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking 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 proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Aliso Viejo CA.