How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Anaheim CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Anaheim CA is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of potential students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. 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. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Anaheim CA labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Anaheim CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working 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 newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and provides a general education along 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 specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, most Anaheim CA employers require certification before employing technicians. Some 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be clinical 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 in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Anaheim CA students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Anaheim CA as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as 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 quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Anaheim CA job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges 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 screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Anaheim CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At 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 less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Anaheim CA medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Anaheim CA medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Anaheim CA, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical 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 due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Anaheim California
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Anaheim CA.