How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Azusa CA
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Azusa CA is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend classes online 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 much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the 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 laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Azusa CA labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Azusa CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in most states, many Azusa CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To start with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum 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 in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Azusa CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist 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 might have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Azusa CA as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each 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 a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing 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 practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, 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 minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Azusa CA clinics or hospitals that you may 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 complaints have been filed 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 find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Azusa CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Azusa CA health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Azusa CA, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Azusa California
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Azusa CA.