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Become a Phlebotomist in Altadena California

How to Select the Right Phlebotomy School near Altadena CA

Altadena CA phlebotomist drawing bloodSelecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Altadena CA is an important initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, 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. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.

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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description

Altadena CA phlebotomist laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Altadena CA labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?

The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. 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 collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working 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 Education, Licensing and Certification

blood testing done in Altadena CA labThere are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, most Altadena CA employers look for certification before employing 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomist Online Training

Altadena California woman attending phlebotomy school onlineFirst, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient 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, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you select 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 quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.

Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?

First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Altadena CA medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs

What to ask Altadena CA phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Altadena CA as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating 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 essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Altadena CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Altadena CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Altadena CA healthcare community.

Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Altadena CA, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.

Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Altadena California

Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Altadena CA.