How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Azusa CA
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Azusa CA is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most prospective students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Azusa CA labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Azusa CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working 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. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. 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. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Azusa CA students. As an added benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Azusa CA in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy 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 Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Azusa CA job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Azusa CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Azusa CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Azusa CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Azusa CA, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study 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 illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Azusa California
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Azusa CA.