How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Classes near Azusa CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Azusa CA is an essential initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most prospective students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes 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 a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to 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 choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Azusa CA labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Azusa CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Azusa CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To start with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Azusa CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you wish 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 Azusa CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Azusa CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Azusa CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask 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 submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. 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 less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Azusa CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Azusa CA medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Azusa CA, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Azusa California
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Azusa CA.