How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Bell Gardens CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy school near Bell Gardens CA is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, many potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Bell Gardens CA labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Bell Gardens CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type 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 practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Bell Gardens CA employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the primary 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Bell Gardens CA students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Bell Gardens CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, 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 working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may 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 working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Bell Gardens CA job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, 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 schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with some Bell Gardens CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Bell Gardens CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Bell Gardens CA health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Bell Gardens CA, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Bell Gardens California
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Bell Gardens CA.