How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Altadena CA
Picking the right phlebotomy technician training near Altadena CA is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In reality, many prospective students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional 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 you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Altadena CA laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Altadena CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older 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 blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Altadena CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it may be a more practical option for some Altadena CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school 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 phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that meets 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 phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Altadena 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 imperative to check out the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact several Altadena CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working 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 looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Altadena CA medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Altadena CA health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending college. If you need to go to 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, confirm it is an option also. 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 procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Altadena California
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Altadena CA.