How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Arcadia CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Arcadia CA is an essential initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In fact, many students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. 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 select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be correctly 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Arcadia CA laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Arcadia CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest 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. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Arcadia CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the primary 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
First, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the course of study 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. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Arcadia CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Arcadia CA as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement 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, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Arcadia CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Arcadia CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working 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 no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Arcadia CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Arcadia CA health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Arcadia CA, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Arcadia California
Making certain that you enroll in 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 multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may differ a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently screen and compare each program before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Arcadia CA.