How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Baldwin Park CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist training near Baldwin Park CA is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to assess and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area 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 closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed to be able 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Baldwin Park CA labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, including Baldwin Park CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 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 quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Baldwin Park CA employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the key 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, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Baldwin Park CA students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant 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 phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Baldwin Park CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates 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 also talk to some Baldwin Park CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Baldwin Park CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Baldwin Park CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to verify that the final college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Baldwin Park CA, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Baldwin Park California
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Baldwin Park CA.