How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Bellflower CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Bellflower CA is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, most students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing 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 in fact work in Bellflower CA laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Bellflower CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, many Bellflower 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion 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 completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for some Bellflower CA students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Bellflower CA medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Bellflower CA in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Bellflower CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little 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 colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Bellflower CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final 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 total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Bellflower CA health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Bellflower CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bellflower CA, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Bellflower California
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Bellflower CA.