How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Bell Gardens CA
Selecting the right phlebotomy training near Bell Gardens CA is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. 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 actually work in Bell Gardens CA laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Bell Gardens CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older 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 variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as 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 phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Bell Gardens CA employers require certification prior to employing 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Bell Gardens CA students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Bell Gardens CA as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional 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 an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Bell Gardens CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with some Bell Gardens CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. 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 full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Bell Gardens CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Bell Gardens CA medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings 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 completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Bell Gardens California
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a wide range of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary slightly across the country as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Bell Gardens CA.