How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Arcadia CA
Selecting the right phlebotomist training near Arcadia CA is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to 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 can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Arcadia CA labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Arcadia CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less 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 be certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Arcadia CA employers look for certification prior to employing 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Arcadia CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional 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 disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Arcadia CA medical facilities, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect job for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Arcadia CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose 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 advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Arcadia CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. 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 screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few Arcadia CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact 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 reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Arcadia CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Arcadia CA health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to verify that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Arcadia CA, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study 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 in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Arcadia California
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Arcadia CA.