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Become a Phlebotomist in Apple Valley California

How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Apple Valley CA

Apple Valley CA phlebotomy tech drawing bloodEnrolling in the ideal phlebotomy school near Apple Valley CA is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit 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 finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.

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Phlebotomist Job Description

Apple Valley CA phlebotomist laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Apple Valley CA laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?

The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, 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 infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification

blood testing performed in Apple Valley CA laboratoryThere are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Apple Valley CA employers look for certification prior to employing 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 phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomy Training

Apple Valley California woman attending phlebotomy training onlineTo start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical option for some Apple Valley CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school 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 certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.

Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?

First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Apple Valley CA medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect job for you.

Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

Questions to ask Apple Valley CA phlebotomy schoolsSince you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked 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 college is relevant if you will be commuting from Apple Valley CA in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your final decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, 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 hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Apple Valley CA job market.

What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with several Apple Valley CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Plenty of Training Included? 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 clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 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 expansive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Apple Valley CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Apple Valley CA healthcare community.

Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night 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 also. 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 need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.

Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Apple Valley California

Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Apple Valley CA.