How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Arcadia CA
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Arcadia CA is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by looking at 2 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 discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Arcadia CA labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Arcadia CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind 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 practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, many Arcadia CA employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the main 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical option for many Arcadia CA students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start 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 tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. 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 working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy 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 a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Arcadia CA job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with 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 refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact several Arcadia CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final 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 total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Arcadia CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Arcadia CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to verify that the final school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Arcadia CA, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure 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 as a result of emergencies or illness.
Learn How to Become a Phlebotomist
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Arcadia California
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Arcadia CA.