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Become a Phlebotomist in Bell Gardens California

How to Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Bell Gardens CA

Bell Gardens CA phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientChoosing the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Bell Gardens CA is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to analyze 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 receive a quality education. In reality, many students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.

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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary

Bell Gardens CA phlebotomist laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be properly 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 laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Bell Gardens CA laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Bell Gardens CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.

Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification

blood testing performed in Bell Gardens CA laboratoryThere are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Bell Gardens CA employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few 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 a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees

Bell Gardens CA woman attending phlebotomy school onlineTo begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for many Bell Gardens CA students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.

Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?

First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Bell Gardens CA medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges

Questions to ask Bell Gardens CA phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might 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 school is relevant 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 phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may have to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Bell Gardens CA job market.

What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Bell Gardens CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask 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 filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.

Is Enough Training Included? First, check with 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Bell Gardens CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Bell Gardens CA healthcare community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bell Gardens CA, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.

Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Bell Gardens California

Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bell Gardens CA.