How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Training Course near Bellflower CA
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist school near Bellflower CA is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Bellflower CA laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Bellflower CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education as well as 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, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Bellflower CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the primary certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To begin with, let's dispel one potential 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. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Bellflower CA students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Bellflower CA medical facilities, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy 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 want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Bellflower CA in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Bellflower CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Bellflower CA clinics or hospitals that you may 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 Enough Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At 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 lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Bellflower CA medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Bellflower CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Bellflower CA, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Bellflower California
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bellflower CA.