How to Find the Best Phlebotomist School near Buena Park CA
Choosing the right phlebotomist training near Buena Park CA is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to assess and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, most potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit 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 factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide 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 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 Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time 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 can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Buena Park CA laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Buena Park CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working 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 solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually 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 fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, many Buena Park CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the main certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose 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.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Buena Park CA students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Buena Park CA as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable 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 program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Buena Park CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. 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 screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Buena Park CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask 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 practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. 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 clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Buena Park CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at offer 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 program has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Buena Park CA health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Buena Park CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Buena Park California
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each school prior to 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 pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Buena Park CA.