How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Azusa CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Azusa CA is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many students start the process 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 local campus. We'll talk 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 locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, 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 check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Azusa CA labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, including Azusa CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education together with 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 exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Azusa CA employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying agencies 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 phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist 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. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Azusa CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Azusa CA in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Azusa CA job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? 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 all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few Azusa CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 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 furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Azusa CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help 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 higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Azusa CA medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while attending school. If you can only go to 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, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Azusa California
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ slightly across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Azusa CA.