How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist School near Arden Arcade CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Arden Arcade CA is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, most students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process too. 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 choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Arden Arcade CA laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Arden Arcade CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route 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 phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive 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 Arden Arcade CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the key 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out 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 can be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for some Arden Arcade 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 textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior 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 best option for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Arden Arcade CA medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists often work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right job for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Arden Arcade CA in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Arden Arcade CA job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Arden Arcade CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Arden Arcade CA medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Arden Arcade CA medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Arden Arcade CA, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, 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 fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Arden Arcade California
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Arden Arcade CA.