How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Apple Valley CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Apple Valley CA is an important initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point 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 can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Apple Valley CA laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Apple Valley CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Apple Valley CA employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient option for some Apple Valley CA students. As an added benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant 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 school. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Apple Valley CA job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Apple Valley CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Apple Valley CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Apple Valley CA medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Apple Valley CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Apple Valley California
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy 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 a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a wide range of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary slightly across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Apple Valley CA.