How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Altadena CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Altadena CA is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, many potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Altadena CA labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Altadena CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Altadena CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the primary certifying organizations 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be practical 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 prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it might 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 costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Altadena CA medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work around anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Altadena CA as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist 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 have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick 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 several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Altadena CA job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Altadena CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing 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 Adequate Training Provided? First, check with 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 phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Altadena CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Altadena CA health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Altadena CA, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Altadena California
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may differ a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Altadena CA.