How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist School near Bellflower CA
Picking the right phlebotomy technician school near Bellflower CA is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In fact, many potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Bellflower CA labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, such as 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. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, most Bellflower CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the key 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including 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 furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for some Bellflower CA students. As an added benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Bellflower CA medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right profession for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Bellflower CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected 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 in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college 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 little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact some Bellflower CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact 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 looking at 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 may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Bellflower CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Bellflower CA health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bellflower CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near Bellflower California
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may differ a bit across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each college before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Bellflower CA.