How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Bell Gardens CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy training near Bell Gardens CA is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal function, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Bell Gardens CA laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and varied, including Bell Gardens CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Bell Gardens CA employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
First, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical option for many Bell Gardens CA students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you want 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 as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, 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 prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages 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 take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college 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 phlebotomist colleges, 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 looking at. You can start 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 rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with some Bell Gardens CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable 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? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Bell Gardens CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Bell Gardens CA, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Bell Gardens California
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an important 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 superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ slightly across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each school before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Bell Gardens CA.