How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Baldwin Park CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Baldwin Park CA is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Baldwin Park CA laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Baldwin Park CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Baldwin Park CA employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Baldwin Park CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Baldwin Park CA as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need 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 practicing and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Baldwin Park CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Baldwin Park CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Baldwin Park CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Baldwin Park CA health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to verify that the final college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Baldwin Park CA, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Baldwin Park California
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each school before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Baldwin Park CA.