How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Apple Valley CA
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician school near Apple Valley CA is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may consider 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 you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Apple Valley CA labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Apple Valley CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Apple Valley CA employers look for certification prior to employing 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Apple Valley CA students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Apple Valley CA as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy 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 have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded 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. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Apple Valley CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all schools 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 research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few Apple Valley CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, check with 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Apple Valley CA health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Apple Valley CA medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Apple Valley CA, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near Apple Valley California
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a variety of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary a bit across the country as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Apple Valley CA.