How to Select the Right Phlebotomist School near Bell Gardens CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Bell Gardens CA is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area 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 checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding 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 too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time 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 may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Bell Gardens CA laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and varied, such as Bell Gardens CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples 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 furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually 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 means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, most Bell Gardens CA employers require certification before hiring 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Bell Gardens CA students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Bell Gardens CA as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure 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 need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded 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 school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Bell Gardens CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, 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 reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with some Bell Gardens CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing 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 total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Bell Gardens CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Bell Gardens CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Bell Gardens CA, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Bell Gardens California
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may differ a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bell Gardens CA.