How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Anaheim CA
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Anaheim CA is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to 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 cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Anaheim CA labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Anaheim CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Anaheim CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component 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. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Anaheim CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Anaheim CA medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work around anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Anaheim CA as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Anaheim CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? 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 investigate 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 placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with some Anaheim CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn 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 provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Anaheim CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Anaheim CA medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Anaheim CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. 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 ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Anaheim California
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anaheim CA.