How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Altadena CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Altadena CA is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area 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 a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Altadena CA laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Altadena CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in most states, a number of Altadena CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the primary certifying agencies 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for some Altadena CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Altadena CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification 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 all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select 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 a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Altadena CA job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with some 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 contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, 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 clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Altadena CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good 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 important to make sure that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Altadena CA, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, 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 ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Altadena California
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Altadena CA.