How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Altadena CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Altadena CA is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In fact, most prospective students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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 in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Altadena CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Altadena CA employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the key 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical 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. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Altadena CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen 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 campus is important if you will be commuting from Altadena CA as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in 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 College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded 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 school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting 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 attractive to future employers in the Altadena CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate 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 research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Altadena CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with 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 Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Altadena CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Altadena CA medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Altadena CA, check that 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 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 policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Learn How to Become a Phlebotomist
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Altadena California
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Altadena CA.