How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Baldwin Park CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomy training near Baldwin Park CA is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to assess and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing 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 in fact work in Baldwin Park CA labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Baldwin Park CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting 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 working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate 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 provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. 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. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, most Baldwin Park CA employers require 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Baldwin Park CA students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you wish 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 as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Baldwin Park CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal 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 check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Baldwin Park CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Baldwin Park CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Baldwin Park CA medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to 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 part-time, make sure it is an option as well. 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 protocol is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Baldwin Park California
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Baldwin Park CA.