How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Bell Gardens CA
Selecting the right phlebotomist training near Bell Gardens CA is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, many potential students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision 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 reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Bell Gardens CA labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Bell Gardens CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 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 along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route 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 to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Bell Gardens CA employers require certification prior to 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 phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. 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 provides a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for some Bell Gardens CA students. As an added benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend 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 tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Bell Gardens CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several Bell Gardens CA clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are looking at 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 provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Bell Gardens CA health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Bell Gardens CA medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bell Gardens CA, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Bell Gardens California
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may differ a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each school prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bell Gardens CA.