How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Classes near Baldwin Park CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Baldwin Park CA is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Baldwin Park CA labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Baldwin Park CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Baldwin Park CA employers look for certification before employing 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
First, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical option for many Baldwin Park CA students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive 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 certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Baldwin Park CA medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Baldwin Park CA in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several 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 sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective 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 in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Baldwin Park CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, contact 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering 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 signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Baldwin Park CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Baldwin Park CA health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Baldwin Park CA, check that they are available 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 study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Baldwin Park California
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Baldwin Park CA.