How to Find the Right Phlebotomist School near Baldwin Park CA
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy training near Baldwin Park CA is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Baldwin Park CA laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and diverse, including Baldwin Park CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means 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 on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Baldwin Park CA employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying agencies 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 phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for many Baldwin Park CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Baldwin Park CA medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college 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 college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Baldwin Park CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with some Baldwin Park CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with 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 looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Baldwin Park CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much 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 college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Baldwin Park CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings 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, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Baldwin Park California
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a variety of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary slightly across the country as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Baldwin Park CA.