How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Apple Valley CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Apple Valley CA is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may look into 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's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. 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 select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Apple Valley CA labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Apple Valley CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer 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 most states, a number of Apple Valley CA employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the key 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Apple Valley CA students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you intend 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 cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing 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 all of the programs you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Apple Valley CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. 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 reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact a few 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 check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable 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 Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Apple Valley CA health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Apple Valley CA, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Apple Valley California
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each college before making your ultimate 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 phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Apple Valley CA.