How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy School near Apple Valley CA
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician school near Apple Valley CA is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, many potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, 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 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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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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 in fact work in Apple Valley CA labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Apple Valley CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively 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 working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Apple Valley CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying organizations 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for many Apple Valley CA students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Apple Valley CA medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind 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 important 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 college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Apple Valley CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any schools 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 screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Apple Valley CA hospitals or clinics 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 Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working 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 looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Apple Valley CA medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Apple Valley CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Apple Valley CA, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, 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 sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Apple Valley California
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Apple Valley CA.