How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Azusa CA
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Azusa CA is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many prospective students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Azusa CA labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Azusa CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After 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 look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the principal certifying organizations 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Azusa CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Azusa CA in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Azusa CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with several Azusa CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Azusa CA health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Azusa CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Azusa CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Azusa California
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Azusa CA.