How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Altadena CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomy school near Altadena CA is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review 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 locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. 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 select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, 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 utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, 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 an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Altadena CA labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Altadena CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending 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 exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in most states, many Altadena 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 a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part 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 completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for many Altadena CA students. As an added benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Altadena CA as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, 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 agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Altadena CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with some Altadena CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer 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 colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Altadena CA health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support 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 higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Altadena CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to verify that the final school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Altadena CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Altadena California
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Altadena CA.