How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Baldwin Park CA
Picking the right phlebotomist training near Baldwin Park CA is an important initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, many students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, 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 best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Baldwin Park CA labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Baldwin Park CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Baldwin Park CA employers require 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 a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Baldwin Park CA students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Baldwin Park CA medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right job for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Baldwin Park CA in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing 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 practicing and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Baldwin Park CA job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact some Baldwin Park CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Baldwin Park CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Baldwin Park CA health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the final school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Baldwin Park CA, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure 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 procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Baldwin Park California
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Baldwin Park CA.