How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Training Course near Altadena CA
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician training near Altadena CA is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, most potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss 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 locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Altadena CA labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Altadena CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general 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, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Altadena CA employers look for 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 phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the course of study will be clinical 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 prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Altadena CA students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus 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 phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program 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 in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating 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 a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Altadena CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, check with 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Altadena CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Altadena CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the final college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Altadena CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Altadena California
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each school before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Altadena CA.