How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Altadena CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Altadena CA is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind 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 important considerations and must be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed 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 screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Altadena CA labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Altadena CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic 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, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Altadena CA employers require certification prior to employing 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 phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for many Altadena CA students. As an added benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). 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 learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you want 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 tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program 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 examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Altadena CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. 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 research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with a few Altadena CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide 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 colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy 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 might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Altadena CA health care 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. Ask if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Altadena CA health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the final school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Altadena CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Altadena California
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Altadena CA.