How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Bell Gardens CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy school near Bell Gardens CA is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare each of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should 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 reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Bell Gardens CA laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Bell Gardens CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method 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. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Bell Gardens CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the program of studies 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 completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Bell Gardens CA students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). 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 degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Bell Gardens CA in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets 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 School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Bell Gardens CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with some Bell Gardens CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out 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 no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Bell Gardens CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Bell Gardens CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bell Gardens CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Bell Gardens California
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each program before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bell Gardens CA.