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Become a Phlebotomist in Apple Valley California

How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Apple Valley CA

Apple Valley CA phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientChoosing the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Apple Valley CA is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional 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's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.

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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description

Apple Valley CA phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to 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 in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Apple Valley CA labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Apple Valley CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification

blood testing done in Apple Valley CA laboratoryThere are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Apple Valley CA employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the primary certifying agencies include:

  • National Phlebotomy Association
  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
  • American Medical Technologists (AMT)

There are some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomist Online Training

Apple Valley CA woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineFirst, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for many Apple Valley CA students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium 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.

Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools

Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Apple Valley CA as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee 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 previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Apple Valley CA job market.

What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even 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 grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.

Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Apple Valley CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Apple Valley CA healthcare community.

Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Apple Valley CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify 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 completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.

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Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Apple Valley California

Making sure 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 discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Apple Valley CA.