How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist School near Buena Park CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist training near Buena Park CA is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may 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's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing 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 in fact work in Buena Park CA labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Buena Park CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, a number of Buena Park CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the key 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 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 important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Buena Park CA students. As an added benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Buena Park CA medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you 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 chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Buena Park CA as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Buena Park CA job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Buena Park CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 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 expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Buena Park CA medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Buena Park CA medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Buena Park CA, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical 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 because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Buena Park California
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a number of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary slightly across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Buena Park CA.