How to Select the Best Phlebotomist School near Arden Arcade CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy school near Arden Arcade CA is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must 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 select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly 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 lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Arden Arcade CA labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Arden Arcade CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively 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 practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and furnishes 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 provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, many Arden Arcade 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for many Arden Arcade CA students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you choose 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 means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you wish 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 Arden Arcade CA as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing 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 practicing and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College 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 several 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 qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Arden Arcade CA job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Arden Arcade CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? 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 classroom and practical. 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 lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Arden Arcade CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage 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 a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Arden Arcade CA medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Arden Arcade CA, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Arden Arcade California
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Arden Arcade CA.