How to Find the Right Phlebotomist School near Bell Gardens CA
Picking the right phlebotomy training near Bell Gardens CA is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online schools 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 including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Bell Gardens CA labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Bell Gardens CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Bell Gardens CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Bell Gardens CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Bell Gardens CA medical facilities, well this profession 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 a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect job for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Bell Gardens CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very 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 all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Bell Gardens CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Bell Gardens CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested 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 complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact 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 phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Bell Gardens CA health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Bell Gardens CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bell Gardens CA, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Bell Gardens California
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bell Gardens CA.