How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Aliso Viejo CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Aliso Viejo CA is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk 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 closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Aliso Viejo CA labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Aliso Viejo CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many 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 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 imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Aliso Viejo CA students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school 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 phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Aliso Viejo CA job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Aliso Viejo CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final 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 full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Aliso Viejo CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Aliso Viejo CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to 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. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Aliso Viejo California
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Aliso Viejo CA.