How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Bellflower CA
Choosing the right phlebotomist training near Bellflower CA is an important first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In fact, many potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection 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 pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Bellflower CA laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Bellflower CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Bellflower CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the primary 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 phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good 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. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Bellflower CA students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Bellflower CA in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided 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 only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Bellflower CA job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative 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 graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Bellflower CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Bellflower CA health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Bellflower CA health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the final school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Bellflower CA, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical 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 need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near Bellflower California
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each program before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bellflower CA.