How to Select the Best Phlebotomist Training Course near Apple Valley CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy school near Apple Valley CA is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In fact, many potential students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review 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 locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must 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 reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Apple Valley CA laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and varied, such as Apple Valley CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Apple Valley CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the primary certifying organizations 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Apple Valley CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected 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 campus is important if you will be commuting from Apple Valley CA as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available 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 College's Reputation? In numerous 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 essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. 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 screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact some Apple Valley CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Apple Valley CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college 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 an extensive network of professional contacts within the Apple Valley CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to verify that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Apple Valley CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Apple Valley California
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Apple Valley CA.