How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Azusa CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician training near Azusa CA is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Azusa CA laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Azusa CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively 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 environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become 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 offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Azusa CA employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the primary certifying agencies 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Azusa CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, 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 previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Azusa CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Azusa CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Azusa CA clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at 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 obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Azusa CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Azusa CA medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Azusa CA, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend 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 because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Azusa California
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each college before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Azusa CA.