How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Apple Valley CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Apple Valley CA is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In fact, most potential students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should 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 evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Apple Valley CA laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including 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 toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly 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 setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Apple Valley CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the key certifying organizations 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 phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Apple Valley CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Apple Valley CA in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy 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. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in 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 Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Apple Valley CA job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many 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 all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Apple Valley CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At 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 below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Apple Valley CA health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing offer 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 program has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Apple Valley CA health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending 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. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend 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 have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose 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 career position. As we have covered 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 institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Apple Valley CA.