How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Altadena CA
Selecting the right phlebotomy school near Altadena CA is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, 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 has to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Altadena CA labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Altadena CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as 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 specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Altadena CA employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying agencies 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Altadena CA students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). 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 degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Altadena CA as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Altadena CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous 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 important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. 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 organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact some Altadena CA clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, check with 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide 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 expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Altadena CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Altadena CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only 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, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
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Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Altadena California
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Altadena CA.