How to Find the Best Phlebotomy School near Bell Gardens CA
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Bell Gardens CA is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most prospective students begin 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 classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Bell Gardens CA labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Bell Gardens CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. 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 training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type 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 collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Bell Gardens CA employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the main 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Bell Gardens CA students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Bell Gardens CA in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. 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 readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Bell Gardens CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several Bell Gardens CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Bell Gardens CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning 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 Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bell Gardens CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Bell Gardens California
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a number of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bell Gardens CA.