How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Course near Apple Valley CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Apple Valley CA is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, most students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Apple Valley CA laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Apple Valley CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, most Apple Valley CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Apple Valley CA students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish 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 as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program 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 several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Apple Valley CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Apple Valley CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Apple Valley CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most 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 Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Apple Valley CA, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Apple Valley California
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a number of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Apple Valley CA.