How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy School near Apple Valley CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Apple Valley CA is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local 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 far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors 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 choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Apple Valley CA laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Apple Valley CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together 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 phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Apple Valley CA employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including 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 offers a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed 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 portion of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Apple Valley CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in 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 quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Apple Valley CA in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose 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 have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating 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 minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Apple Valley CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? 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 at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Apple Valley CA medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Apple Valley CA medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Apple Valley CA, make certain they are available at those times. Also, 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 clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Apple Valley California
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a variety of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Apple Valley CA.