How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Bellflower CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy school near Bellflower CA is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. 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 pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Bellflower CA labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Bellflower CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Bellflower CA employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part 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. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Bellflower CA students. As an added benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Bellflower CA in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, 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 Program's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Bellflower CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. 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 colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As 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 practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Bellflower CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Bellflower CA medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Bellflower CA, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, 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 should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Bellflower California
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bellflower CA.