How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Baldwin Park CA
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Baldwin Park CA is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, many potential students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes 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 a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Baldwin Park CA labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Baldwin Park CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Baldwin Park CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the primary certifying organizations 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted 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 convenient option for many Baldwin Park CA students. As an added benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected 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 campus is significant if you will be commuting from Baldwin Park CA in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable 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 program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Baldwin Park CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, 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 start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Baldwin Park CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing 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 Ample 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Baldwin Park CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Baldwin Park CA health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Baldwin Park CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Baldwin Park California
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each program before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Baldwin Park CA.