How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Buena Park CA
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Buena Park CA is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, many potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Buena Park CA labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Buena Park CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once 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 before hiring technicians. Some of the primary certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for some Buena Park CA students. As an added benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you intend 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 Buena Park CA in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages 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 be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Buena Park CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start 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 rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Buena Park CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomy 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 below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Buena Park CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position 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 school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Buena Park CA health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Buena Park CA, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. 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 have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Buena Park California
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Buena Park CA.