How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist School near Banning CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy school near Banning CA is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Banning CA laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Banning CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, a number of Banning CA employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the key certifying agencies 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Banning CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general understanding 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 intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Banning CA in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example 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 superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Banning CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few Banning CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested 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 colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 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 comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Banning CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Banning CA medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Banning CA, make certain they are available at those times. Also, 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 sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Banning California
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each program before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Banning CA.