How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy School near Bellflower CA
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Bellflower CA is an important initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, most prospective students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Bellflower CA laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Bellflower CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree 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 offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be practical 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. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Bellflower CA students. As an added benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Bellflower CA medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right profession for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Bellflower CA as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy 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 College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school 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 some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Bellflower CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. 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 may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Bellflower CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Bellflower CA health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to verify that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bellflower CA, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Bellflower California
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bellflower CA.