How to Select the Right Phlebotomist Training Course near Altadena CA
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician school near Altadena CA is an essential initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick 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 training.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly 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 tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Altadena CA labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing 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 do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Altadena CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method 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 on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, most Altadena CA employers require certification before hiring 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To start with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for many Altadena CA students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Altadena CA as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, 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 attractive to prospective employers in the Altadena CA job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several Altadena CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, contact 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Altadena CA medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Altadena CA medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Altadena CA, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify 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 find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Altadena California
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Altadena CA.