How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Apple Valley CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Apple Valley CA is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Apple Valley CA laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Apple Valley CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Apple Valley CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part 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. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Apple Valley CA students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general idea 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 want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Apple Valley CA in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, 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 requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Apple Valley CA job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Apple Valley CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing 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 offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided 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 also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Apple Valley CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Apple Valley CA, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, 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 completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Apple Valley California
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Apple Valley CA.