How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy School near Baldwin Park CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomy training near Baldwin Park CA is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, many students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit 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 finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing 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 training.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to 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. Next, paperwork must be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Baldwin Park CA laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Baldwin Park CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working 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 basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Baldwin Park CA employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the principal 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy 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 Schools
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for some Baldwin Park CA students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Baldwin Park CA medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you 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 picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Baldwin Park CA as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Baldwin Park CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few Baldwin Park CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Baldwin Park CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Baldwin Park CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to verify that the final college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Baldwin Park CA, check that they are offered 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 find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Baldwin Park California
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a variety of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may vary a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Baldwin Park CA.