How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Bell Gardens CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Bell Gardens CA is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need 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 including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide 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 discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Bell Gardens CA labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Bell Gardens CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in most states, many Bell Gardens CA employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the principal 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for some Bell Gardens CA students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Bell Gardens CA as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Bell Gardens CA job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Bell Gardens CA hospitals or clinics that you may 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 complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Bell Gardens CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Bell Gardens CA medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Bell Gardens CA, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. 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 ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Bell Gardens California
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may differ a bit across the country as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bell Gardens CA.