How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist School near Altadena CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Altadena CA is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In fact, many potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Altadena CA laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Altadena CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education as well as 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 exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Altadena CA employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the primary 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Altadena CA students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Altadena CA as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification 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 preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized 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 an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Altadena CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Altadena CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Altadena CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Altadena CA medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Altadena CA, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Altadena California
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Altadena CA.