How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist School near Arcadia CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Arcadia CA is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most prospective students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best 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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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing 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. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Arcadia CA labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Arcadia CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and provides 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 incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide 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 most states, many Arcadia CA employers look for certification prior to employing 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Arcadia CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Arcadia CA medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Arcadia CA as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages 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 be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Arcadia CA job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Arcadia CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn 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 no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Arcadia CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Arcadia CA health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Arcadia CA, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy 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 health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a variety of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Arcadia CA.