How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Course near Apple Valley CA
Choosing the right phlebotomist training near Apple Valley CA is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Apple Valley CA labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Apple Valley CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing 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 collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, most Apple Valley CA employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few 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 exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Apple Valley CA students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now 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 chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Apple Valley CA as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Apple Valley CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Apple Valley CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Apple Valley CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Apple Valley CA medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to verify that the final school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Apple Valley CA, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure 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.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Apple Valley California
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Apple Valley CA.