How to Select the Best Phlebotomist School near Aliso Viejo CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Aliso Viejo CA is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, most students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Aliso Viejo CA labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Aliso Viejo CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take two 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 finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in most states, most Aliso Viejo CA employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the course of study 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. However since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient option for many Aliso Viejo CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Aliso Viejo CA in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Aliso Viejo CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin 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 also. You can also talk to some Aliso Viejo CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Aliso Viejo CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Aliso Viejo CA health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Aliso Viejo CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Aliso Viejo California
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Aliso Viejo CA.