How to Find the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Baldwin Park CA
Picking the right phlebotomy technician school near Baldwin Park CA is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating 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 schools.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Baldwin Park CA labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Baldwin Park CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing 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 drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Baldwin Park CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Baldwin Park CA students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Baldwin Park CA as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Baldwin Park CA job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous 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 check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact several Baldwin Park CA clinics or hospitals that you might 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 find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Baldwin Park CA medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Baldwin Park CA medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Baldwin Park CA, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. 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 protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Baldwin Park California
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Baldwin Park CA.