How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Arcadia CA
Selecting the right phlebotomy school near Arcadia CA is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession 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 perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online schools 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 variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has 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 delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Arcadia CA laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Arcadia CA hospitals, medical clinics, 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 seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education as well as 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 phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Arcadia CA employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the primary 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Arcadia CA students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Arcadia CA as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to 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 complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Arcadia CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Arcadia CA clinics or hospitals that you may be interested 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 submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, check with 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 phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Arcadia CA medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Arcadia CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Arcadia CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. 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 ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Arcadia California
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a number of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each program before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Arcadia CA.