How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Training Classes near Apple Valley CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy school near Apple Valley CA is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Apple Valley CA labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Apple Valley CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Apple Valley CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the principal 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 phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Apple Valley CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (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 disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Apple Valley CA medical facilities, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right profession for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Apple Valley CA as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, 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 future employers in the Apple Valley CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Apple Valley CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Apple Valley CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Apple Valley CA health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the final program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Apple Valley CA, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. 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 should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Apple Valley California
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a number of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Apple Valley CA.