How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Azusa CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Azusa CA is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, most potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Azusa CA laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Azusa CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Azusa CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the main 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 few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for some Azusa CA students. As an added benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Azusa CA as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program 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 a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Azusa CA job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Azusa CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Azusa CA health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Azusa CA medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending school. If you can only attend 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 as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near Azusa California
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a wide range of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Azusa CA.