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Become a Phlebotomist in Altadena California

How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Altadena CA

Altadena CA phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientChoosing the right phlebotomy technician school near Altadena CA is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss 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 comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.

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Phlebotomist Job Description

Altadena CA phlebotomist lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Altadena CA labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?

The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Altadena CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis done in Altadena CA laboratoryThere are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomy Colleges

Altadena California student attending phlebotomy school onlineTo begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant 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. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Altadena CA students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national 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 dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges

Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Altadena CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Altadena CA job market.

What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start 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 solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact several Altadena CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Plenty of 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 length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.

Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Altadena CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist 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 positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Altadena CA health care community.

Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Altadena CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

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Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Altadena California

Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is a critical 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 go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each program before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Altadena CA.