How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Azusa CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Azusa CA is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, most prospective students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the ideal 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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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out 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 in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Azusa CA labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Azusa CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Azusa CA employers require certification before hiring 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical option for many Azusa CA students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Azusa CA medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical 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 blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked 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 as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in 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 benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Azusa CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place 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 even contact some Azusa CA clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing 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 considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Azusa CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Azusa CA health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Azusa CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Azusa California
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Azusa CA.