How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Anaheim CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician training near Anaheim CA is an essential initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many prospective students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal 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 Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Anaheim CA labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Anaheim CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing 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 mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Anaheim CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
First, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for many Anaheim CA students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Anaheim CA medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right profession for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming 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 certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Anaheim CA in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical part 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 programs you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Anaheim CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Anaheim CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of 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 clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Anaheim CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage 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 together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Anaheim CA health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anaheim CA, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Anaheim California
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anaheim CA.